Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has signed a decree allowing the deportation of Ukrainians in occupied territories who refuse to take Russian citizenship, Russian state media reported on April 27.
According to the decree, Ukrainians in the occupied territories who choose to retain their Ukrainian citizenship can be deported after July 1, 2024.
Under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the unlawful deportation of local populations is considered a war crime.
On April 26, Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar reported that Russia had initiated large-scale resettlement of Russian citizens to occupied territories in Ukraine while continuing to deport local populations.
The local Ukrainians are being forcibly deported "under various pretexts" to Russia, especially those suspected of "adhering to pro-Ukrainian positions," Maliar wrote.
"In this way, the enemy seeks to destroy Ukrainian statehood and the national self-identity of society in the temporarily-occupied Ukrainian territories," the deputy defense minister added.
Tens of thousands of Ukrainian children have also been taken since the start of Russia's all-out war.
The Reintegration Ministry reported on March 29 that over 19,000 Ukrainian children have been forcibly deported to Russia.
Additionally, 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."