Flash News


Authorities in Ukraine: 16,000 children were forcibly taken by Russian troops

Authorities in Ukraine: 16,000 children were forcibly taken by Russian troops

Kyiv authorities say Russian troops have forcibly taken more than 16,000 Ukrainian children and moved them to Russia or to Ukrainian territories controlled by Moscow.

As of March 24, only 324 children have been reunited with their families, including Olena Dudnik's son Andriy. Voice of America correspondent Lesia Bakalets brings us the story of this mother who managed to find her son in Moscow.

Olena Dudnik is from the city of Izium in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine. Last April, when Russian troops occupied the city, her 17-year-old son Andriy was seriously injured by the bombing.

Ms. Dudnik tells VOA that she took her son to a Russian field hospital for surgery.

"They put him in a room and a doctor said: 'We're going to operate on him and you can come see him tomorrow.' The next day, when I arrived, they told me that my son had been sent to Moscow," she says.

Olena says she asked the Russian doctors about her son every day.

"All the time they told me that they had no information. I cried and said: 'please understand me, you also have children. At least tell me if he's alive or not,'" she told VOA.

A month and a half later, Ms. Dudnik received a message on her cell phone.

"There was a picture that went viral on the Internet, a picture of Andriy with the description that this Ukrainian child is in a hospital in Moscow. There was also an address of the hospital", she tells the Voice of America. She immediately went to Moscow.

The Ukrainian Commissioner for Children's Rights says that often the only option for parents to take their child from Russia is to go there in person.

"This is very dangerous. These parents are not 100% sure that they will be reunited with their child," says Daria Gerasymchuk, Ukrainian Commissioner for Children's Rights

According to Ukrainian officials, more than 16,000 Ukrainian children have been forcibly relocated to Russia or to Russian-controlled Ukrainian territories.

“Ne kemi marrë këtë numër aplikimesh për këta fmëijë. Këto aplikime ndonjëherë vijnë nga prindër, të afërm të tjerë, autoritetet lokale, ose thjesht nga dëshmitarë okularë që kanë informacion për zhvendosjenme forcë të një fëmije”, thotë Daria Gerasymchuk, Komisionerja ukrainase për të Drejtat e Fëmijëve.

Autoritetet ruse nuk e mohojnë se i marrin fëmijët nga territoret ukrainase, por nuk e quajnë atë zhvendosje me forcë. Përfaqësuesi i përhershëm i Rusisë në OKB, Vasiliy Nebenzya, tha se largimi është bërë për të mbrojtur fëmijët nga rreziku i operacioneve ushtarake.

Pavarësisht kësaj, Gjykata Ndërkombëtare Penale lëshoi një urdhër arresti për presidentin rus Vladimir Putin, duke e akuzuar atë për përgjegjësi personale për dëbimin dhe transferimin e paligjshëm të fëmijëve nga Ukraina.

Magdalena Gawin, director of the Pilecki Institute, a Polish government-funded group devoted in part to the study of totalitarian regimes, says the decision is legitimate.

"This case is particularly important because it is part of crimes against humanity. So there are different levels, this is a level of war crimes," she says.

Olena Dudnik managed to get her son from Moscow, and Ukrainian volunteers helped them find temporary protection. But Ukrainian officials say that so far fewer than 400 children have met the same fate as Andriy, returning to their families./VOA

Latest news