It has long felt as though the Russian army was providing Ukraine with a never ending cavalcade of horrors over the course of the last several months, as the Kremlin’s military plan crumbles and war crimes become the new norm.
We’ve heard tales of rape, genocide, torture, mutilation, molestation, and more, all of which have grown more frequent as Russian troops’ morale continues to sink.
Now, over half a year into the conflict, the United Nations is now warning that Russia is kidnapping Ukrainian children en masse and forcefully deporting them for adoption in Russia.
The United Nations said Wednesday there are credible accusations that Moscow’s forces have removed children from Ukraine to Russia for adoption as part of larger-scale forced relocations and deportations.
“There have been credible allegations of forced transfers of unaccompanied children to Russian occupied territory, or to the Russian Federation itself,” Ilze Brands Kehris, the assistant UN secretary-general for human rights, told the Security Council.
“We are concerned that the Russian authorities have adopted a simplified procedure to grant Russian citizenship to children without parental care, and that these children would be eligible for adoption by Russian families,” she said.
Brands Kehris told a Security Council meeting on Ukraine that Russian forces are also running a “filtration” operation in which Ukrainians in occupied territories are put through systematic security checks that have involved “numerous” human rights violations.
“In cases that our office has documented, during ‘filtration,’ Russian armed forces and affiliated armed groups have subjected persons to body searches, sometimes involving forced nudity, and detailed interrogations about the personal background, family ties, political views and allegiances of the individual concerned,” she said.
The filtration procedures involved probing people’s mobile devices, obtaining personal identity data, and taking pictures and fingerprints, she said.
International authorities have already launched over 15,000 war crimes investigations in Ukraine, and the mass deportation of children could certainly add a rather significant number of new cases to the pile.