Tags: russia | ukraine | war | putin | enemies | children

Official: Russia Adopting Ukraine Children Aimed to 'Destroy' Home Identity

By    |   Sunday, 25 December 2022 09:38 AM EST

As the Russia-Ukraine war passes the 10-month anniversary, a number of despondent Ukrainian citizens are dealing with logistical barriers in their quest to recover or reclaim children who have been captured by Russian troops and taken to adoption centers in Russia.

Back in May, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a public decree, seemingly making it "quick and easy" for Russians to adopt Ukrainian children — a policy that has been bolstered and implemented by Putin's children's rights commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova.

It's also a policy that's fraught with controversy.

"Russia changed its adoption law to give these children to Russian families as soon as possible," Alexandra Romantsova of the Center for Civil Liberties in Kyiv, which documents possible Russian war crimes and won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, recently told The Washington Post.

"In these families, children are kept from the truth so they don’t give them the chance to keep a connection with Ukrainians or Ukrainian identity at all. It is one of the ways that Russia is trying to destroy Ukrainian identity," added Romantsova.

Last month, Daria Herasymchuk, Ukraine's top children's rights official, said that 10,764 Ukrainian children had been reported by relatives, family, or friends to have been "deported" by Russia without their parents.

This week, the Post chronicled stories of Ukrainian citizens trying to track down children in the war-torn country who've been placed in the Russians' custody.

One prime example involves a 12-year-old boy, Oleksandr, who has not seen his family since April.

"[The Russians] said that they would send [her grandson, Oleksandr] to an orphanage or they would find a family in Russia," Oleksandr's grandmother, Lyudmila, of Ichnya, in Ukraine's northern Chernihiv region, told the Post. "I told them, 'I'll risk my life. I'll come and pick him up.' I was pleading with them not to send him to Russia.

"They told me, 'It's going to be very hard, and the paperwork is awful.' I said I didn't care," added Lyudmila.

The Post reports that Oleksandr — whose last name had been protected in the story — has not seen his mother since Russian soldiers captured the pair in southern Ukraine, and separated the two.

At 12, Oleksandr evaded adoption into a Russian family "only because he remembered his grandmother's phone number and called her to come and save him," according to the Post.

Putin aide Lvova-Belova herself adopted a Ukrainian boy — an orphan who had been evacuated from the city of Mariupol, which had been under heavy bombing by Russia, and relocated to a sanatorium near Moscow. 

Lvova-Belova has also spoken publicly about her efforts to change the Ukrainian boy's views on Russia.

Also, on Oct. 26, Lvova-Belova estimated that roughly 2,000 "unaccompanied children" from Ukraine were "evacuated" to Russia, mainly to orphanages and other group homes.

She also stated that "350 orphans from Donbas have already been placed in foster families in 16 regions of Russia, but a thousand more children are waiting for new parents," the Post reports.

Potential war crimes occur when children are removed from a country during conflict, as a means of changing their nationality.

The Kremlin has made a propaganda triumph of the removal of children, with photos and video plastered on its website and on state television. Several Ukrainian families told The Post that their children were told they would be adopted by Russians — "despite having their own families."

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Newsfront
As the Russia-Ukraine war passes the 10-month anniversary, a number of despondent Ukrainian citizens are dealing with logistical barriers in their quest to recover or reclaim children who have been captured by Russian troops and taken to adoption centers in Russia.
russia, ukraine, war, putin, enemies, children
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2022-38-25
Sunday, 25 December 2022 09:38 AM
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