Russian forces have kidnapped over 13,000 children from occupied Ukrainian territory, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Twitter on Dec. 28.
He stressed this is the way Russia once again violates international law.
“The 4th Geneva Convention calls for the facilitation of renewing contact & meeting of family members,” the defense minister noted.
“But the goal of the "Russian World" is different—to kill millions of Ukrainians & to make their children Russian.”
On Oct. 6, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that Russia had already forcibly relocated over 1.6 million Ukrainians since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Russian occupation authorities have often focused on kidnapping Ukrainian orphans, who are then given to Russian families.
According to official data, Ukraine has only managed to repatriate 100 Ukrainian children from Russian custody.
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 – analogous to methods used during the Chechen wars.