Russia should face sanctions and international isolation in response to the removal of children from Ukraine
The founder of the Save Ukraine Foundation, Nikolai Kuleba, has announced that once again a group of Ukrainian children, illegally taken to Russia, has been successfully returned, consisting of 11 young Ukrainians. Since the start of the war, nearly 400 Ukrainian children have been returned, but this is a small fraction compared to the total number, with at least 19,445 such cases known. Russia has a much higher statistic - according to the Commissioner for Children's Rights in Russia, M. Lvovaya-Belova, around 700,000 Ukrainian children have been taken to Russia. The accuracy of this statistic remains to be determined, but Russian occupation forces began systematically removing Ukrainian children as early as 2014, immediately after Russia's occupation of Crimea and part of Donbass. Russia is a state-terrorist that kidnaps Ukrainian children in an attempt to improve its own demographic situation.
Russian forces have launched a real hunt for Ukrainian children in the occupied territories of Ukraine, as residents of the liberated Ukrainian military units in the Kherson region have reported. According to eyewitnesses, Russians were searching for children everywhere they could - from shelters and children's hospitals to the streets of Kherson. Children had to be hidden to prevent their forced removal to Russia. Typically, children are taken through the territory of the so-called L/DNR and then placed in filtration camps in the Rostov region. Children are often separated from their parents, causing them psychological trauma, exacerbated by the harsh treatment of Russian caregivers in shelters, as well as the bullying by Russian peers.
Ukraine needs to receive the necessary assistance to bring every Ukrainian child back home. This war has brought immeasurable suffering to Ukrainians, especially the youngest. Russia blatantly violates not only international law and Ukrainian legislation but also destroys people's lives by separating families and taking children from their parents. Full international isolation and new sanctions are the minimum punishment for the Kremlin's crimes.