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Euromaidan Press
2 Sep 2023
Orysia Hrudka

386 Ukrainian children illegally adopted by Russian families

russian forced deportation adoption ukrainian children
Credit: UkrInform

Ukraine’s Human Rights Ombudsman, Dmytro Lubinets, revealed in a news marathon that 386 Ukrainian children have been confirmed as being adopted by Russian families after being deported to Russia. Lubinets highlighted the importance of precise terminology in this matter, differentiating between adoption and temporary guardianship.

In a direct statement, Lubinets said, “We have confirmed figures. 386 children – it is a fact that they have been placed in Russian families, and either the adoption procedure has begun or is completed for them.”

This issue has also gained international attention because of a meeting between Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s Child Rights Commissioner, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the meeting, Lvova-Belova herself admitted to adopting a Ukrainian child. This admission became highly controversial when she was subsequently issued an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court. Following the warrant, Lvova-Belova changed her narrative, claiming she had only taken the child under temporary guardianship.

Not only Putin and Lvova-Belova: all Russians deporting Ukrainians must be prosecuted

Lubinets emphasized the illegality of such adoptions, stating, “Adopting children from countries in a state of international armed conflict—what we call war—is forbidden according to international humanitarian law. For us, establishing this legal fact is crucial. If it is proven that Russians are adopting Ukrainian children, this clearly falls under the characteristics of the war crime of genocide, perpetrated by Russia’s higher military-political leadership.”

Putin, Lvova-Belova responsible for deportation of “at least hundreds” of Ukrainian children to Russia – Hague Prosecutor Khan

The news comes amid earlier reports that Russia had taken “preliminary guardianship” of 1,184 children deported from Ukraine’s occupied territories. This number is three times higher than what the Russian authorities had publicly stated. Lubinets also informed that efforts to bring back 11 children illegally held by Russian invaders in a temporarily occupied part of the Kherson region had been successful after months of work. He expressed hope for more such positive news in the near future.

Ukraine forms international coalition to bring back orphans deported by Russia