At least 2,442 children from Ukraine between the ages of six and 17 have been transported to 13 facilities in Belarus following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, according to researchers from Yale School of Public Health’s Humanitarian Research Lab (HRL).
The report released on Nov. 16 said that the movement of children from Russia-occupied parts of Ukraine to Belarus is ultimately coordinated between Russia’s President Vladimir
Putin and Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko through the Union State, a supranational entity constituted of Russia and Belarus.
“Russia and Belarus are targeting children for removal from Ukraine, coordinating their transport from occupied Ukraine through Russia to Belarus, and subjecting children to re-education, sometimes including military training,” the Yale HRL researchers said.
Children have been moved from several Ukrainian cities and towns across Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, including: Khartsyzsk, Makiivka, Yenakiieve, Chystiakove, Horlivka, Shakhtarsk, Donetsk, Mariupol, Volnovakha, Ilovaisk, Berdiansk, Yasynuvata, Snizhne, Kirove, Debaltseve, and Lysychansk, according to the report.
At this time, Yale HRL "can't adequately assess how many children have been returned to Ukraine from Belarus, nor assess how many children transported from Ukraine to the locations identified in this report remain in Belarus."
This program of deportation mirrors other instances that the researchers have documented of efforts "to pacify and assimilate the areas of Ukraine which Russia has sought to occupy in contravention of international law," including through mass deportation of civilians, detention and disappearance of perceived opponents, and forcing Ukrainian civilians in occupied territory to acquire Russian passports.