Zelensky will be at the UN General Assembly starting this Tuesday, where the leaders of the main world powers meet. A presence that also coincides with the decision of the Hague Court of reopen his case against Russia for genocide when today, more than a year later, it is impossible to count the dead.
In parallel, another phenomenon is occurring that escapes the eyes of international pressure: the kidnapping of ukrainian children by Russia. Children’s Villages estimates that 700,000 Ukrainian children are currently held in Russian territory.
“The Kremlin has changed their names, given them new passports and they remain in what they call reeducation camps. A real war crime” in the words of the national director of Children’s Villages in Ukraine, Lukashov Serhii, in statements to It’s Federico’s Morning.
We are talking about children with parents, middle class families. “Many were kidnapped in the first days of the invasion, when they tried to flee across the border. Others are babies born during the bombings. In some cases they took advantage of the fact that their parents had been detained, but there have also been situations of threats to vulnerable families that if they did not send their children to the Russian camps, they would be deprived of parental rights.”
9,500 minors located
Children’s Villages has managed to locate more than 9,500 children, of which 386 have managed to return to their country. This same week, six of them arrived at the Court in The Hague to give an account of what they have experienced in these months of captivity.
Iván, at 17 years old, is one of them. “I have had very difficult experiences since I was captured while fleeing a bombing in a hospital in Donesk. My childhood is forever broken.”
After his visit to The Hague, he said that he spent months in a refugee exchange, dressed in the uniform of the Russian army and in which The image that was offered of the war had the clear stamp of propaganda. Something that many of the teenagers who have been able to tell their story agree on.
“They receive beatings and have to compete to eat”
“In these concentration camps that the Russians call re-education, they encountered a brutal attitude,” says Sehrii. “They received beatings, They have to compete to be able to eat… All for pure propaganda, to create an image for them that Ukraine has fallen into war, that there is no longer hope for them.”
In the case of adolescents, it is more difficult for this propaganda to take hold because, as the director of Children’s Villages says, “they have their own memories of what is happening in Ukraine, they resist and insist on returning. The problem comes with the little ones. “They can’t resist, they are scared and they just obey.”
Only two NGOs, in collaboration with the Ukrainian police, are helping to find these children. But, without international help and without the official declaration of a war crime, their work becomes very complicated. “We need international pressure, the crime must be recognized internationally as such and the attitude of several countries that close their eyes to this brutal violation of children’s rights is unacceptable“simply unacceptable”
Only parents can go to Russia to claim them
Children’s Villages works from the front line and with local infiltrated people who help them with the tracking work. However, on the terrain, the only ones who can act are the parentsif they are lucky enough that their child is located.
This NGO is in charge of helping them prepare the trip, the documentation and providing them with psychological assistance and training in the face of the multiple police checkpoints that they will encounter along the 4,000 km of the road.
“We instruct, We encourage and provide material resources so that mothers and fathers can travel that path to Russia, which is complicated: they face many checkpoints, many interviews, interrogations… A difficult path but one that in many cases is being possible.
Since this year, the Court in The Hague has issued an arrest warrant against Putin for the transfer and deportation of these Ukrainian children. Russia continues to claim that this is an evacuation effort to protect these minors from danger.