The UN has called Russia’s forced deportation of Ukrainian children a war crime.
The report, released on Thursday by the United Nations Commission of Inquiry into Ukraine, also mentions evidence of other Russian war crimes, including attacks on hospitals, torture, rape and intentional killings, BBC News reported.
The Ukrainian government estimates that approximately 16,221 children have been taken by Russia since the beginning of the war. It’s part of a policy instituted by the Russian government that involves granting Russian citizenship and placing children in foster families, hoping to create “a framework in which some of the children may end up staying permanently,” it says. the ONU.
The UN investigators also say that while most child transfers were supposed to be temporary, they have since been prolonged, with many of the children experiencing “a number of obstacles in establishing contact” with their parents.
Witnesses cited in the report describe Russian officials yelling at the children, insulting them and forcing them to wear dirty clothes. There were also fears among witnesses that younger children who have trouble communicating with their parents in Ukraine could lose contact with them “indefinitely.”
The report details how the task of trying to regain contact fell largely on the children, as parents in Ukraine continue to face “considerable logistical, financial and security challenges.”
Russia could be responsible for “crimes against humanity” such as its attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, the UN said.
The investigators mentioned “a small number” of violations committed by the Ukrainian armed forces, including the endangerment of a nursing home during the war.