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PACE: Russia's forced relocation of Ukrainian children shows evidence of genocide
Russia's forced relocation of Ukrainian children and efforts to impose Russian culture on them "matches with the international definition of genocide," the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) wrote on April 27.
Speaking via video link from Kyiv, First Lady Olena Zelenska told the assembly that there are "thousands" of Russians involved in the forced relocation.
"It is a whole policy, and a whole conscious mechanism by Russia – to alienate our children, depriving them of their families, names, language, roots," Zelenska said.
The assembly called on Russia to grant access to the United Nations and International Red Cross and Red Crescent "to gather information on deported children."
The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants on March 17 for Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian official overseeing the forced deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia.
The PACE wrote that they "welcomed the International Criminal Court’s decision" to issue the arrest warrants and "urged their enforcement."
According to the ICC, there are “reasonable grounds to believe” that Putin is directly responsible for overseeing the deportations and that he failed to exercise control over the Russian military personnel and civilians who implemented the crime throughout occupied Ukrainian territory since the start of the full-scale invasion.
Tens of thousands of Ukrainian children have been taken by Russia since the start of the full-scale invasion.
The Reintegration Ministry reported on March 29 that over 19,000 Ukrainian children have been forcibly deported to Russia.
The National Resistance Center reported on April 12 that over 100,000 Ukrainian children from Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts have been transported to Russia under the pretext of receiving "medical treatment."
Kidnapped children face punishment for calling themselves Ukrainians or refusing to sing the Russian national anthem. Children that have been safely brought back to Ukraine recounted instances of beatings and other punishments.
The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine published a report on March 16 that found Russia's relocation of Ukrainian children likely constitutes a war crime.