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Russia introduces drone course to prepare children in occupied regions for war against Ukraine

Russia has enforced a new educational curriculum in all schools across the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, introducing a course on operating unmanned aerial vehicles for children.
Russian soldiers in Ukraine. Photo: social media
Russian soldiers in Ukraine. Photo: social media
Russia introduces drone course to prepare children in occupied regions for war against Ukraine

Russia has implemented a new curriculum in all schools in temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, which will introduce a course on operating unmanned aerial vehicles and drones starting from the first day of the new education year, on 1 September 2024. Currently, Russian instructors teach Ukrainian children how to use drones in specialized courses. However, every student is expected to receive training in this area, according to Ukraine’s National Resistance Center.

Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russian-installed authorities in occupied regions of preparing Ukrainian children for service in the Russian armed forces. To achieve this objective, Russia has established numerous courses and lessons where collaborating teachers, teachers from Russian regions, and even real fighters teach the smallest Ukrainians how to use weapons and obey orders.

The Kremlin has pledged that every educational institution in temporarily occupied territories will be equipped with training drones and instructors to organize such courses. Considering the critical shortage of teachers in Russia-controlled regions, it is likely that Russian military personnel will be involved in conducting such training.

“We see the range of audacious crimes committed by Russia only increasing. Now, in addition to involving children in the production of weapons, the occupiers will also be preparing minors for potential combat tasks.

Such actions by the Russian occupying authorities contradict international norms and standards in education. Involving minors in such activities violates their right to non-participation in war and protection from being used in military service,” says Ukraine’s National Resistance Center.

Additionally, apart from indoctrinating children into conflict against their people, the occupiers exploit schoolchildren for various other tasks, notes the center. For instance, recently, in the occupied city of Berdiansk, the invaders forced schoolchildren into spending a week cleaning public squares.

At the same time, the occupiers appoint former lab technicians or even street sweepers as school directors or deputy heads of the academic department positions. This happens because most education employees in occupied territories refuse to collaborate with the occupying authorities. Furthermore, many dedicated teachers continue to provide lessons remotely for students who attend online lessons in Ukrainian schools.

Despite promises of generous salaries and social benefits, the National Resistance Center reveals that a critical shortage of personnel for educational institutions in the temporarily occupied territories still remains. Specifically, there is a dire need for teachers for upper grades and administrative staff.

Earlier, activists from the “Cyber Resistance” provided evidence that Russia recruits underage civilians for weapon manufacture in Tatarstan. To engage more employees in the production process, it established the “Alabuga Polytech” institution to teach teenagers and deported Ukrainian children how to work at drone factories.

Ukraine’s National Resistance Center: Russian teens to manufacture 10,000 Shahed drones annually

To conceal the manufacture of the drones, Russia has labeled it as the Dolphin Project. According to internal documents, nearly 1,300 students finish their studies at “Alabuga Polytech” each year.

The Ukraine’s resistance center has called on all international organizations to condemn Russia’s crimes, including forced child labor, indoctrination, as well as engaging children in the military. The deliberate transformation of children into combatants and exposing them to danger is a grave breach, said the center.

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