Russia has brought some 700,000 children from conflict zones in Ukraine to Russian territory, Grigory Karasin, head of the international committee in the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, said Sunday night.
“Over the past few years, 700,000 children have found refuge with us, fleeing the shelling and shelling of conflict zones in Ukraine,” Karasin wrote on his Telegram message channel.
Russia launched a full-scale invasion of its western neighbor Ukraine in February 2022. Moscow says its program of bringing Ukrainian children into Russian territory is to protect orphans and abandoned children in the conflict zone.
However, Ukraine says many children have been illegally deported and the United States says thousands of children have been forcibly removed from their homes.
Most of the movement of people and children occurred in the first months of the war and before Ukraine began its major counter-offensive to retake occupied territories in the east and south in late August.
As of July 2022, the United States estimated that Russia “forcibly deported” 260,000 children, while Ukraine’s Ministry of Integration of the Occupied Territories says that 19,492 Ukrainian children are currently considered illegally deported.
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