International

Ukraine: Deported children facing threat of ‘illegal adoption’ in Russia

Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is warning that Ukrainian children being deported to Russian families are facing a threat of “illegal adoption.”

In a statement on Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “Russian occupiers” continue to “violate the norms of international law and resort to unacceptable actions,” including forcing the displacement of Ukrainian citizens, such as children.

“In the course of the ongoing full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, the Russian occupiers continue to violate the norms of international law and resort to unacceptable actions –  the illegal and forced displacement of Ukrainian citizens, including children, among them orphans, children deprived of parental care, as well as children whose parents died as a result of Russia’s military aggression, across the state borders of our State to the territory of Russia,” the ministry wrote.

The ministry added that there is “a blatant threat of illegal adoption of Ukrainian children by Russian citizens without observing all the necessary procedures determined by the legislation of Ukraine.”

The ministry called on a number of authorities, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to “accept urgent measures for the return of Ukrainian children to the territory of our State.”

The statement pointed to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which, according to the ministry, requires that parties to the international treaty — including Russia and Ukraine — make efforts to fight against the illegal movement and failure to return children from abroad.

The ministry said it is a “cynical disregard” of fundamental laws and customs of warfare and human rights for Russia to try to provide a legitimate basis for its actions.

“The Kremlin’s attempts to provide ‘legitimate’ grounds for its criminal actions on the territory of Ukraine are a cynical disregard for the fundamental laws and customs of warfare and universally recognized human rights,” the ministry said.

“In fact, in violation of international humanitarian law and basic standards of humanness, Russia is engaged in state-organised kidnapping of children and destruction of the future of the Ukrainian nation,” it added.

The ministry said those actions by Russian soldiers in Ukraine “can be qualified as kidnapping and require a decisive reaction from the international community, primarily from the relevant international organizations.”

The statement from the Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry comes in the seventh week of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24 when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a military operation in country. The conflict has since been ongoing.

Russia has been accused of committing a number of war crimes throughout the course of the invasion, including targeted killings of civilians, targeted destruction of civilian buildings and rape.

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