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Russia's Plan to Re-educate and Adopt Ukrainian Children

(FILE) Empty cribs at a playhouse in Kherson, Ukraine
(FILE) Empty cribs at a playhouse in Kherson, Ukraine

President Biden said that Russia has “stolen Ukrainian children in an attempt to steal Ukraine’s future.”

Russia's Plan to Indoctrinate and Adopt Ukraine's Children
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The scale, scope, and brutality of Russia’s efforts to subjugate Ukraine and its people continue to appall the world, declared State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

There is no clearer example of that brutality than what the Kremlin is doing to Ukraine’s children. A newly released independent report by Yale University’s Humanitarian Research Lab, funded by the State Department-supported Conflict Observatory program, details Russia’s systematic government‑wide efforts to indefinitely relocate thousands of Ukraine’s children away from their families or guardians to areas of Ukraine under Russian Government control and to Russia itself via a network of 43 camps and other facilities.

About 75% of the camps appear to be indoctrination centers, exposing Ukraine’s children “to Russia-centric academic, cultural, patriotic, and/or military education ... with the apparent goal of integrating children from Ukraine into the Russian government’s vision of national culture, history and society,” the report states.

“In many cases, Russia purported to temporarily evacuate children in Ukraine under the guise of a free summer camp, only to later refuse to return the children and to cut off all contact with their families,” noted Spokesperson Price:

“Such actions obviously will have serious long-term implications on these children’s development. The network of facilities which these children are sent is vast, spanning from Russia-occupied Crimea across Russia itself, from the Black Sea region to its far east. The report indicates how these abusive practices involve officials and other individuals at all levels of Russia’s government.”

As President Biden recently stated, Russia has “stolen Ukrainian children in an attempt to steal Ukraine’s future.”

“Russia’s system of forced relocation, re-education, and adoption of Ukraine’s children is a key element of the Kremlin’s systematic efforts to deny and suppress Ukraine’s identity, its history, and its culture,” he said. “The devastating impacts of Russia’s failing war of aggression will be felt for generations to come.”

The Yale University report and others like it reinforce U.S. and international resolve to pursue accountability for war crimes and other atrocities committed by members of Russia’s forces in Ukraine. The United States and the international community will continue to support Ukraine and its people as they seek justice for these heinous acts for as long as it takes.