Yale: Russia re-educating thousands of Ukrainian children

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A destroyed school in eastern Ukraine
NOS News

Thousands of Ukrainian children have been held in Russian re-education camps since the start of the war. That is the conclusion of a report from the American university Yale, one of the most highly regarded universities in the United States.

According to the researchers, there is a network of at least 43 camps in which more than 6,000 Ukrainian children have lived or are still living. Presumably this involves considerably more locations and children. Yale investigators argue that there are war crimes committed by Russia.

Ukraine has long said that thousands of children are being deported to Russia. In December last year, the country talked about more than 12,000 Ukrainian minors. The United Nations announced in mid-October that it would investigate Russian human rights violations.

The Yale researchers have now found out where the camps are and how many children are involved. The camps are said to be located on the annexed Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and in Russia itself, as far as Magadan province, some 6,000 kilometers from the border with Ukraine.

At ‘summer camp’

According to Yale’s Public Health’s Humanitarian Research Lab, which conducts research into war crimes in Ukraine at the request of the US State Department, there is a large-scale and systematic network. Re-education camps would be decided up to the highest circles in Russia.

The report states that it does not only concern (alleged) orphans, but also children who go to Russia under the guise of a ‘summer camp’. Often, the researchers say, the war leaves Ukrainian parents with no other choice and they are forced to enroll their children in the camps.

The youngest child the researchers could identify was four months old. Some children would ‘flow on’ to youth care or adoptive parents in Russia after their stay in a camp.

In 10 percent of the camps the researchers found, a return is postponed, according to the parents of the children. In two camps, this is indefinite and parents are in the dark about their child’s whereabouts and how things are going.

Russian political re-education

According to the researchers, political re-education is taking place in almost 80 percent of the camps. The aim would be to teach children about Russian history, culture and society.

In response to the report, the Russian embassy in the US says that Russia is taking in children who have had to flee their homes as a result of the war in Ukraine.

“We have taken note of the absurd statements of the Foreign Ministry spokesman accusing our country of ‘forcibly transferring and deporting Ukrainian children’ to Russian territory,” the embassy writes on its Telegram channel.

According to Russia, the country is concerned with the “protection of their lives and well-being”. “We recall that Russia accepts children forced to flee the shelling and atrocities of the armed forces of Ukraine,” the Russian embassy in the US said.

  • Russia places Ukrainian children in foster homes: ‘Another war crime’
  • Human Rights Watch finds new evidence of ‘filtration’ of Ukrainians in camps
  • Ukrainian Public Prosecutor sees pattern in deportation of citizens to Russia
  • Abroad

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