In its nostalgia for a vassalized Central Europe where any protest was crushed by sending tanks to Budapest or Prague, the Kremlin has been ravaging Ukraine for five months under the guise of “denazification” and negation of the Ukrainian nation, using a strategy of terror that razes cities, massacres and rapes civilians, displaces populations.
Between February 24 and June 18, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, more than 1.9 million Ukrainians, including more than 307,000 children [200 000 selon le président ukrainien Volodymyr Zelensky, début juin]would thus have been forcibly transferred to the Russian Federation, without guarantees or external checks on their living conditions and their future.
This transfer through one-way evacuation corridors, to “filtration camps”, then to places as remote as Murmansk, Kamchatka or the North Korean border, raises the specter of deportations perpetrated by Tsarist Russia and the ‘Soviet Union.
Our most serious concerns relate to the fate of deported children, especially the most vulnerable: isolated minors or minors placed in institutions, orphans or not. More than 2,000 of them were registered before the invasion in Ukrainian reception establishments.
To this figure is added an unknown number of children recently orphaned by the Russian invasion and others who were separated from their parents during their stay in “filtration camps”, where the latter are held, suspected of belong to the Ukrainian army or resistance. As investigators appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council fear, these minors are all at risk of being adopted by Russian families: on July 20, 108 of them, originally from the Donetsk region, l have already been according to Ukrainian rights defender Dmytro Lubinets.
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Indeed, Russia has not ratified the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, the only transnational legal framework allowing intercountry adoption procedures. The decrees signed by Vladimir Putin on May 25 and July 11 simplifying the process of obtaining Russian citizenship for Ukrainians – including children – even facilitate their adoption. This text is accompanied by a law, voted on June 7, which authorizes the Russian Federation to no longer apply the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.
In fact, the Russian Federation does not feel under any obligation to respect international humanitarian law, the framework of which it rejects. Also, the requests addressed to the Kremlin by the Ukrainian authorities demanding the return of the young deportees, totally depend on the goodwill of the invader, who only satisfies them in dribs and drabs: Only twenty-three had returned to Ukraine in June, and forty-four at the beginning of July, according to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.
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