A new decree by President Vladimir Putin automatically grants citizenship to abducted Ukrainian orphans and unaccompanied minors, allowing heads of Russian organizations housing the children to initiate applications on their behalf.
Ukraine has identified that Russia has deported 19,500 Ukrainian children from occupied territories since its February 2022 invasion, with the ICC issuing an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Children’s Human Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova in connection with this war crime.
This decree regarding “certain categories of foreign citizens” and the procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship for them “grossly violates the legislation of Ukraine, the norms of international law and the rights of children – citizens of Ukraine, who during the large-scale offensive of the Russian Federation were forcibly moved to the territory of the aggressor state,” the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in its comment.
According to the Ministry, Russia aims not only to meet its own demographic needs using forcibly migrated children, but to assimilate Ukrainian youths by depriving them of connections to their homeland.
“Such actions violate the norms of international humanitarian law, are null and void and do not create any legal consequences. The introduction of new russian legislation on citizenship is aimed at depriving kidnapped Ukrainian children of the opportunity to return to the Motherland,” the Foreign Ministry says.
The involuntary transfer of protected persons between national groups contravenes international humanitarian law and meets criteria for acts of genocide pursued by Russian leadership.
“We call on the International Criminal Court to take into account these actions of russian leadership to transfer Ukrainian children from one national group to another, including by forcibly granting them russian citizenship, which is one of the signs of genocide, and the international community to execute as soon as possible the arrest warrant issued by the ICC against vladimir putin, by taking necessary measures of detaining him and transfering to the bodies of international justice,” the Ministry wrote.
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