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The Kyiv Independent's journalist Olesia Bida (L) speaks on the phone to alleged Russian collaborator Svitlana Maiboroda, who organized illegal deportation of Ukrainian children from the occupied territories to Russia. (Screenshot from "Uprooted," an investigative documentary by the Kyiv Independent).
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The Kyiv Independent's investigative documentary "Uprooted" on Russia's abduction of Ukrainian children has won the 2023 Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) award for the Video – Divison I category.

The "Uprooted" investigation, authored by journalist Olesia Bida, uncovers the inner workings of the forced deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia and the occupied territories of Ukraine.

Other Kyiv Independent team members behind the project include Vitalii Havura, Kostiantyn Nechyporenko, Liza Pyrozhkova, and Yevheniia Motorevska.

"This was a searing and comprehensive piece of reporting that unmasked the Russian government's abduction and relocation of Ukrainian children, making an emotional impact far greater than a list of names and numbers or scattered news reports ever could," IRE judges commented.

"Judges were also impressed by the team's use of open-source intelligence and strong accountability interviews with the specific officials responsible for taking children from their homes and families — all work that will likely stand as an important testament once the war is over."

Last December, the "Uprooted" investigation also won the National Investigative Journalism Competition 2023.

While working on "Uprooted," the Kyiv Independent's War Crimes Unit identified Russian-controlled officials who took part in the abduction of Ukrainian children and followed the paths of families who risked their lives to bring their children back.

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

The unlawful transfer or deportation of civilians to Russia violates the Fourth Geneva Convention and constitutes a war crime under international law.

More than 19,500 children have been identified by the Ukrainian government as having been deported and/or forcibly displaced by Russia. Almost 400 of them have been brought back to Ukraine.

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