The Conflict Observatory, a program supported by the U.S. Department of State, released an independent report today detailing a vast network of Russia-run sites and processes used to relocate thousands of Ukraine’s children to areas under Russian government control. The unlawful transfer and deportation of protected persons is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians and constitutes a war crime. The fact that these are transfers and deportations of children is unconscionable by any standard. Russia must immediately halt forced transfers and deportations and return the children to their families or legal guardians. Russia must provide registration lists of Ukraine’s relocated and deported children and grant access for outside independent observers to related facilities within Russia-occupied areas of Ukraine and inside Russia itself.
This latest report, prepared by program partner Yale Humanitarian Research Lab, is available in its entirety on the Conflict Observatory’s . It identifies 43 facilities to which the Russian government has relocated Ukraine’s children—for some, thousands of miles away from their homes. The report provides evidence of the Russian government’s systematic efforts to sever communication between the taken children and their relatives at home in Ukraine, prevent the children’s return to Ukraine, and “re-educate” them to become pro-Russia. It also describes the taking of children from Ukraine and placing them for adoption by families in Russia.
The Conflict Observatory is a program that independently compiles and documents evidence to support investigations of abuses during Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Yale’s research identified several dozen Russian Federation officials and other individuals implicated in the relocation and deportation of Ukraine’s children. It makes clear that Russia’s systematic efforts reflect decisions made and actions taken at all levels of the Russian government. This report and others like it reinforce U.S. and international resolve to pursue accountability for all individuals involved in war crimes and other atrocities committed in Ukraine.
Mounting evidence of Russia’s actions lays bare the Kremlin’s aims to deny and suppress Ukraine’s identity, history, and culture. The devastating impacts of Putin’s war on Ukraine’s children will be felt for generations. The United States will stand with Ukraine and pursue accountability for Russia’s appalling abuses for as long as it takes.