31 October 2022, 06:07 PM

Russia already deported over 9,000 Ukrainian children, says prosecutor general

Ukrainian law enforcement officers have already established that more than 9,000 Ukrainian children have been forcibly deported to Russia, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said in an interview with the Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Oct. 31.

“Currently, as part of our investigations, 9,400 children have been identified as deported by Russia from the territory of Ukraine,” he said.

“We understand there may be many more children who have suffered from these crimes, and all the information that comes to us in this regard is verified during the pretrial investigation.”

According to Kostin, such actions by Russia are both a war crime and an act of genocide.

He said that the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide clearly states that the forcible transfer of children of a protected group to another group is an act of genocide.

“Therefore, when investigating these cases, in particular, when collecting evidence, we focus on the fact that such facts constitute both a war crime and an act of genocide,” Kostin said.

Ukrainian Ombudsman Dmytro Lubynets said in early September that Russia had deported over 7,000 Ukrainian children to its territory since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. So far, the Ukrainian authorities have managed to return only 51 children.

“Russia is doing everything to prevent our children from returning to us, even simplifying its adoption legislation,” the prosecutor general said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that before the full-scale invasion, Russia had planned measures to filter and deport Ukrainians in the occupied territories and used these methods during the war in Chechnya.

The Russian invaders are also deporting children from the occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhya oblasts, arguing this are “vacation trips” and “evacuation.”

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