Russia’s Latest War Crime: The Abduction of Ukrainian Children

Written by Ash Breedlove

Since the war began in February last year, thousands of Ukrainian children have been abducted by Russian forces. This is just one of Russia’s tactics to control occupied territory. The relocation of these children is not a humanitarian effort to save innocents from a war zone. Russia is actively kidnapping children under the guise of evacuation. 

When Russian forces occupied Kherson, one orphanage tried to hide children in a nearby church. When the FSB (Federal Security Service) from Russia came knocking, they ordered the children to be made ready to leave. Employees of the orphanage wrote the children’s names on their hands, hoping they could at least keep some part of their identity. 

Not all of these children are orphans. Ukrainian children, sometimes from filtration camps, are separated from their families and taken to Russia. In Russia, Ukrainian children are subject to reeducation programs and propaganda. Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine are also being forced to implement the Russian curriculum. Some are then illegally ‘adopted’ by Russian families. Others are simply lost. Few families have had success in hunting down their stolen children. Efforts have been made to create digital resources (i.e., Children of War) to help reunite children with their families or, at the very least, return them to their home country. 

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