Russian troops started the forced deportation of children from schools and kindergartens in occupied Enerhodar, the town that hosts Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine's nuclear energy company Energoatom said.
The forced deportation will reportedly be held until April 20.
Energoatom said Russian forces plan to take children to occupied Crimea on the Power Plant’s buses, “allegedly legalizing the theft” of the vehicles used by the station staff to get to work.
Dmytro Orlov, Enerhodar’s Mayor, said Russian troops are building up the tranches, mining the territory while having a plan for the retreat in case of Ukraine’s counteroffensive.
Orlov and Energoatom said Russian forces are looting the schools and kindergartens, taking the furniture, mattresses, and other items.
The European Union and 49 countries condemned Russia for organizing an informal meeting of the UN Security Council aimed at spreading “disinformation about its widespread and unlawful forced deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children.”
Russia's event included Maria Lvova-Belova, the country's commissioner for children's rights. Lvova-Belova and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin are subjects of arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague last month, citing allegations of war crimes for the abduction and illegal deportation of Ukrainian children.
Russian forces have unlawfully transferred or deported almost 20,000 Ukrainian children to Russia, violating the Geneva Conventions, according to Ukraine's Reintegration Ministry. Only 327 children have been returned to Ukraine.