Of the 20,000 abducted children, 400 returned to Ukraine. The rest are forcibly Russified

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“It is estimated that over 20,000 children were deported to Russia, of which less than 400 were returned to Ukraine. Various non-governmental projects, such as Reckoning, have documented enough evidence of these deportations,” Adam Sybera, a Czech analyst at the Ukrainian NGO Maidan Monitoring Information Center, which maps war crimes, said in the Chamber of Deputies in mid-March.

“The deportation of children is a war crime that underlies the international arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin, and it goes to the heart of Russia’s goals in Ukraine, which is to destroy Ukrainian identity, culture and ultimately the nation,” Sybera added.

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He stated this at a round table on the investigation of war crimes in Ukraine, which was organized in the Chamber of Deputies by ODS MP Eva Decroix.

At the end of February, the Czech government commissioner for human rights, Klára Šimáčková Laurenčíková, drew attention to the deportation of children, who in a letter sent to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, appealed to stop these crimes.

According to her, the number of abducted children may be higher than the approximately 19 thousand registered by the Ukrainian government. Sahat is said to be up to 300,000, because the statistics only count children whose relatives or witnesses informed the authorities about them.

However, it does not end with the abduction of children to Russia. The Russian occupiers start re-education practically immediately after the occupation of Ukrainian territories and villages.

“When we visited one liberated village, the locals confirmed to us that children were already forcibly drawn to schools during the administrative occupation under the threat that if they did not go there, they would lose their parents and be assigned new ones in Russia,” he described Sybera’s practice.

“The children then handed us the textbooks issued to them by the administrative authority. The whole thing took place in such a way that a non-uniformed person came, took the curriculum from the given municipal school and replaced it with Russian rhetoric,” he added.

According to him, Russia is thus teaching Ukrainian children to “abandon their Ukrainian identity and instead become loyal Russian subjects.”

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In general, however, it is not just about changing the language to Russian and exchanging Ukrainian flags for Russian ones. “The goal is to Russify those places and the Ukrainians living there. Occupation means oppression, torture and forced indoctrination,” the analyst concluded.

To date, over 100,000 war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine have been recorded, from deliberate attacks on civilian targets and the population, murders of civilians, torture or even kidnappings and discovered mass graves.

“It’s not just about numbers, it’s not about politics, it’s about human destinies and human suffering – and we shouldn’t forget that,” Decroix reminded during the round table.

According to Petr Pojman, criminologist and founder of the non-profit organization Team4Ukraine, which cooperates in the detection of war crimes, crimes in the liberated areas of the Kharkiv region and the city of Izjum are fairly well documented.

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“There was a very rapid retreat of Russian troops there, which left a large number of forensic traces and documents from which information could be obtained,” explained Pojman.

“The first days after the liberation of Izjum, people were very disoriented, almost nothing worked there. People there talked about torture, purges or mass burials,” he pointed out.

“It should be emphasized that at the time when Izjum was bombed by Russia, there were practically no Ukrainian troops or military targets on its territory, so purely civilian infrastructure was bombed,” added Pojman.

The participants of the round table agreed that it is necessary to investigate all war crimes committed by Russia. Among other things, they recommended the government to consider increasing funds for the investigation and documentation of war crimes in Ukraine.

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The article is in Czech

Tags: abducted children returned Ukraine rest forcibly Russified

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