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FT: Russia posts abducted Ukrainian children on government-linked adoption sites

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 12, 2024 2:24 PM 1 min read
The overgrown playground of the Kherson children's orphanage, from where Russian forces allegedly abducted almost 50 children, is seen on Nov. 27, 2022. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
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Four children who were abducted and deported to Russia at the beginning of the full-scale invasion were possibly put up for adoption on a government-linked adoption site, according to an investigation released by the Financial Times (FT) on June 12.

At least 19,500 children have been confirmed as abducted by Russia since the start of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and less than 400 of them have returned home, according to the Ukrainian government's database.

The FT's investigation, which used facial recognition tools, public records, and interviews with family members of the abducted children, identified four Ukrainian children aged eight to 15 on the Russian government-linked adoption website usynovite.ru. The children were reportedly abducted from state-care homes.

One of the children had a new Russian name and a different age than the one listed on their Ukrainian document, and another had a Russianized version of their name. None of the information about the children indicated that they came from Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Child Rights Protection (CPRC), a government institution, confirmed the real identities of the children, the FT said.

The FT said that the relatives of the children declined to publicly comment on the abduction and adoption site, citing fears that doing so could prevent their possible return home.

Ukrainian children who have been forcibly deported to Russia are subject to systemic re-education efforts by Russian authorities, according to a report published in the Guardian on Feb. 4.

In March 2023, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Children's Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova for allegedly overseeing the forced deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia.

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