Investigators claim that the forcible abduction of Ukrainian children by Russian troops into Russia constitutes a war crime.
The United Nations Commission of Investigation on Ukraine stated in a recent report that there is proof of human rights violations related to the expulsion of more than 16,000 Ukrainian children to Russia.
According to the report, kidnapping children without their will is a clear violation of international humanitarian law.
It also brought attention to other forms of war crimes, such as assaults on civilians and energy-related infrastructures, as well as wrongful detention, torture, rape, and other forms of sexual assault.
The report also notes Moscow’s policy of granting citizenship to Ukrainian children – and placing them in foster families – has created ‘a framework in which some of the children may end up remaining permanently’ in Russia.
In some cases, children have been forced to wear dirty clothes while being transferred, as well as being screamed at and called names.
Those with learning and behavioural difficulties were also found not to have received adequate care and medication.
Russia has committed a ‘wide range’ of war crimes in Ukraine, UN inquiry finds
Parents and children say they have faced significant obstacles establishing contact once separated, with investigators adding younger children unable to do so of their own initiative ‘might lose contact with [their families] indefinitely’.
Investigators are currently attempting to ascertain whether the bombardment of the city of Mariupol last May amounted to a crime against humanity.
But they have faced challenges with making their inquiries due to a lack of access to the Donetsk region.
In conducting the research, the UN Commission interviewed just under 600 people in almost 60 areas, inspecting ‘sites of destruction, graves, places of detention and torture, as well as weapon remnants [and] a large number of documents and reports’.
They recommended ‘all violations and crimes be investigated and those responsible be held accountable, either at the national or the international level’.
The Commission added they had documented a small number of violations committed on the Ukrainian side, including two incidents in which Russian prisoners of war were shot, wounded or tortured.\