According to official data, after February 24, 2022, Russia forcibly evacuated 19,546 children from Ukraine. However, the actual number is much higher, as the exact statistics of child evacuations from the occupied territories of Ukraine, which began in 2014, are unknown. The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Putin precisely because of the systematic abduction of children from shelters and even from families that are being separated. Russia is trying to take not only Ukraine’s territory but also its people, and therefore, its future. This requires decisive action from the international community, which must recognize Russia as a state terrorist and impose additional sanctions against it.
Russians have evacuated another 450 children from the occupied territories of the Kherson region, including the Kahovka and Henichesk districts. Currently, these children are in the city of Anapa in the Krasnodar Krai and in the city of Yaroslavl, where high school students are being encouraged to enroll in local higher education institutions. Russia does not hide that, through the forced deportation of Ukrainian children, it seeks to address the problem of rapid population decline. In 2022-23, Russia is experiencing a significant decline in birth rates due to the war and an uncertain future. Accordingly, Putin encourages the forced removal of children from Ukraine, and this is a war crime.
Russia has become a threat to the entire world. Everywhere Russian troops go, killings, violence, and looting begin. According to the testimonies of local residents from the liberated territories of the Kherson region, the Russian army organized a real hunt for Ukrainian children, who were taken to the neighboring territories of Russia and distributed in filtration camps for further relocation to selected Russian settlements. Orphans suffered particularly, as they were brought to Russian orphanages where they were subjected to abuse by Russian peers. Furthermore, Putin is not inclined to stop: in the event of a further retreat of the Russian army, it will take all Ukrainian children with it. This is a crime that requires a response: after defeating Russia, every Russian official involved in the abduction of Ukrainian children must be punished.