Espreso. Global

Russia changes names, birth dates of children illegally deported from Ukraine

1 June, 2023 Thursday

Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories Iryna Vereshchuk says that Russia is changing the names and dates of birth of illegally deported children

This is reported by Interfax-Ukraine.

On Wednesday, at the UA: War. An Unsung Lullaby conference, Vereshchuk said that the Russian enemy is doing everything to make it harder for Ukrainians to bring their children home.

“In Russia, they hide them, change their identity, change their names, surnames, dates of birth, do everything to assimilate them, and in fact, commit an act of genocide against our children, forcibly Russify them, give them so-called passports, do everything to make them forget about their native land, forget their language, forget their culture and accept, as they say, a new reality,” the Vice Prime Minister said.

Vereshchuk emphasized that Ukraine needs broad international support in returning its children: “We need to put pressure on Russia. We need to find a mechanism immediately. Because every day that children stay there is a minus to their future, it is a loss of their identity.”

According to Ukrinform, Vereshchuk also said that Russia has deported more than 20,000 children, including more than 4,500 without parental care.

“At least 20,000 children have already been identified, and several dozen more are still waiting to be found and returned. In particular, we have to return more than 4,500 status children (who have the status of orphans or children deprived of parental care - ed.),” the minister emphasized.

Vereshchuk called on the Russian Federation to hand over the lists of children and return them to Ukraine, and also appealed to the international community to develop an effective mechanism to influence Russia if it refuses to hand over the children.

It was also noted that the coordination headquarters was considering the issue of evacuating status children abroad. It was planned that 600 status children would be evacuated to Austria, Switzerland, Poland and Turkey.

Government agencies are already dealing with the tasks of returning status children to Ukraine from abroad and their further adaptation.

“We understand that our status children have the right to be adopted, have the right to be placed in foster care. This return process is also a huge task we are facing now. It is not only a matter of taking the children out, but they need to be returned and adapted so that they can live in their native land,” said Vereshchuk.

What is known about the deportation of Ukrainian children

On March 17, the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Russian leader Vladimir Putin. He is suspected of forcibly deporting Ukrainian children.

On April 27, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recognized the deportation of residents of the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia as genocide and welcomed the issuance of arrest warrants for Putin and Russian Children's Ombudsman Maria Lvova-Belova by the International Criminal Court.

On the same day, Vladimir Putin signed a decree allowing for the deportation of Ukrainians for refusing to accept Russian passports.

A special report presented by the OSCE on May 4 stated that Russia's forced deportation of Ukrainian children could be recognized as a crime against humanity.

On May 14, the National Resistance Center reported that in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, Russian invaders were forcibly issuing passports to children as young as 14 years old, threatening their parents. 

On May 24, the Ukrainian Prosecutor's Office reported that Ukraine was investigating the possible role of Belarus in the forced deportation of children from the temporarily occupied territories. Criminal proceedings were opened. 

On May 29, Russia amended its martial law, legalizing the deportation of residents of the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and the holding of so-called “elections.”  

During medical examinations in the temporarily occupied territories, Russians give children fake diagnoses, and then force their parents to consent to so-called treatment or rehabilitation of their children in Russia. 

On May 30, Russian media reported on the detention of a Ukrainian woman in Moscow. The woman allegedly tried to obtain custody of two children from the temporarily occupied Henichesk.

President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, recently acquainted himself with the Bring Kids Back UA plan, aimed at facilitating the repatriation of children who were illegally deported by Russia. He also participated in the opening of the Center for the Protection of Children's Rights.

Ukraine’s Human Rights Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets says Ukraine has confirmation that the forced deportation of Ukrainian children and prisoners of war took place on the territory of Belarus with the participation of the Belarusian authorities. 

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