Russia has deported over 19,000 children from Ukraine during war – Rada rep

  • 2024-04-29
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Russia has deported more than 19,000 Ukrainian children over the past two years, says Olena Kondratiuk, vice speaker of Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada, citing official Ukrainian data.

Ukraine expects Russia to pay reparations to the affected families, and also international tribunals and punishments for the people behind such deportations, Kondratiuk said at an event "Echoes of Tragedy: Civilian and Child Testimonies on the Russia’s War Against Ukraine", held at th Lithuanian Seimas on Monday.


"In just the past two years, according to various estimates from open sources, Russia has deported 3 to 5 million Ukrainians from the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories," Kondratiuk said in a pre-recorded address. "According to official Ukrainian data, 19,500 children were deported. (...) The unofficial figure is much higher. (...) Over this whole time, Ukraine has managed to return only 388 children from Russia."

She hopes that reparations to the affected victims, a tribunal and punishment will be the next steps.

Kondratiuk also referred to the historical memory of the mass deportations carried out by the Soviets in Lithuania and the other the Baltic states in 1941, underlining that "Russia has well assimilated this method".


Seimas Speaker Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen says that as Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine has entered its third year, "the news does not shock us as much as it did in the early days of the war, despite the fact that the atrocities taking place today are equally painful".

"The forced deportation of Ukrainian children is one of the most tragic consequences of the war and, in my opinion, it's not talked about enough. Judging from my meetings with counterpart from other countries, (...) which do not have the same historical experience as we have, I can see that it is very difficult for them to understand that something like this can happen in the XXI century," she said.

In her words, Russia is committing war crimes in Ukraine every day, and justice is approaching, albeit slowly.

The hearings of deportation survivors at the Seimas have been organized by Opora, a civil network, the International Center for Ukrainian Victory and the Open Lithuanian Foundation's Ukreate Hub initiative.

In March 2023, a court issued a warrant for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his children's rights ombudsperson on war crimes charges, accusing them of personal responsibility for the abduction of children from Ukraine.

Russia launched its large-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians have been killed or injured in more than two years of the ongoing war.