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Research: Thousands of Ukrainian children abducted to Belarus

Yale University’s study exposes the forced relocation of over 2,400 Ukrainian children to Belarusian facilities amidst Russia’s invasion, detailing extensive systematic operations.
On 21 March, Ukraine returned 15 children who were deported to Russia. In total, from the start of the Russian invasion, Ukraine has managed to return home 308 children. Photo: Ombudsman of Ukraine’s office

Since the onset of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, over 2,400 Ukrainian children, ages six to 17, have been relocated to 13 different facilities within Belarus, according to new research, Sky News reports.

The current estimates have been updated following Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s statement in May, which announced an investigation into Belarus’s alleged involvement in forcibly relocating children from areas under Russian occupation.

“In research released [on 16 November] by Yale University, more than 2,000 children were reported to have been transported to the Dubrava children’s center in Belarus’ Minsk region between September 2022 and May 2023. Another 392 children were taken to 12 other facilities,” Sky News says.

The report claims:

“Russia’s systematic effort to identify, collect, transport, and re-educate Ukraine’s children has been facilitated by Belarus.”

Earlier, an exiled Belarusian activist presented the International Criminal Court (ICC) dossier revealing Belarus ruler Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s complicity in illegally deporting Ukrainian children to Belarus.

Russia maintains that it provides humanitarian assistance to those opting to leave Ukraine of their own accord and denies allegations of war crimes. Meanwhile, back in March, the ICC issued warrants of arrest for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova, charging them with unlawful transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.

Maria Lvova-Belova stated Russia “evacuated” some 4.8 million citizens from Ukraine in 2022, including more than 700,000 Ukrainian minors.

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