Russia's war on Ukraine: Children are being abducted from Ukraine and sent to Russian 're-education camps' – Steve Cardownie
One of the more sinister aspects of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine is the forced deportation of that nation’s children.
Reports have surfaced indicating that thousands of children have been abducted and forced to relocate to Russian Federation territory, with the United Nations concluding that the allegations are “credible” and acknowledging that Russian forces have sent Ukrainian children to Russia for adoption as part of a large-scale operation.
An investigation by Associated Press found that Kremlin forces resettled Ukrainian children without their consent, used them for propaganda purposes, and set up summer camps where they were subjected to “patriotic education” and “Russification”, by giving them Russian citizenship and then sending them to live with new Russian “parents” with the aim of erasing their Ukrainian identity.
A new report by the US-based Yale Humanitarian Research Lab says that Ukrainian children between the ages of four months and 17 years old have been forcibly removed from their families and sent to “re-education camps” and “adoption facilities”. Forty-three Russian camps have been identified – some as far away as Siberia – all designed to brainwash children with pro-Russian propaganda and a military-style education.
After the fierce battles in Mariupol last summer, more than 1000 children were taken, with Russian authorities ludicrously claiming that they were “voluntary evacuations”. One Russian department stated that “more than 1000 babies from liberated Mariupol have already found new families in Tyumen, Irkutsk, Kemerovo and the Altai Territory. More than 300 babies are on temporary maintenance in specialised institutions of the Krasnodar territory and are looking forward to meeting their new families.”
The Kremlin falsely claims that this is all part of “a charitable effort” to save Ukrainian children from the “horrors of war” but, as Eurovision News put it, “we should be clear what it means: it is kidnapping, abduction”. Ukraine’s senior presidential advisor for children’s rights and rehabilitation, Daria Herasymchuk, said in January that nearly 14,000 children had been abducted by Russian troops and deported to Russia with only 125 having since been returned to Ukraine and earlier this year both the German and Dutch foreign ministers condemned Russia for this “cruel” and “inhumane” policy that is “tearing families apart”.
Last month Poland launched a new initiative with the European Commission to trace Ukrainian children who had been abducted and taken to Russia as well as to “ensure those responsible are brought to justice”. Poland’s European affairs minister, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek, said that the aim is “to draw the world’s attention to this serious problem through the very high political level of this initiative”, adding that “we cannot close our eyes to this problem. The western world must respond and must collect evidence of these crimes and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”
He noted that Poles have historical experience in this area and “we therefore feel particularly aware of this topic and particularly committed to act on it”, referring to the Second World War when Nazi Germany abducted tens of thousands of ethnic Polish children and gave them to German families to “Germanise” them. The damage inflicted on Ukraine by Russia knows no bounds, sadly this is yet another example.