UN investigations claim Ukrainian children are being “forcibly deported” and offered for adoption in Russia

UN investigations claim Ukrainian children are being “forcibly deported” and offered for adoption in Russia

UN investigations claim Ukrainian children are being “forcibly deported” by Putin’s forces and then offered for adoption in Russia

  • Michelle Bachelet said her office is investigating reports of child deportations
  • She says some were allegedly abducted from orphanages in Ukraine
  • Almost two-thirds of Ukraine’s 7.5 million children have been displaced

The UN is investigating claims that children from war-torn Ukraine are being sent and forcibly deported to Russia, where they will be offered for adoption.

The organization’s rights director, Michelle Bachelet, said her office had “investigated allegations that children were deported from Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”

This reportedly included children who were “taken from orphanages and then put up for adoption in Russia,” she said.

Evacuated children arrive at a train station in Lviv after the outbreak of war. The UN is investigating claims that children are being deported to Russia

The organization's rights director, Michelle Bachelet, said her office had

The organization’s rights director, Michelle Bachelet, said her office had “investigated allegations that children from Ukraine were forcibly deported to the Russian Federation.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said her office could not confirm the allegations or the number of children affected.

But she told the Council: ‘We are concerned by the Russian authorities’ alleged plans to allow the movement of children from Ukraine to families in the Russian Federation, which do not appear to include family reunification steps or the best interests of the child.’

“We will continue to monitor the issue closely,” she said.

It is believed that several thousand young people have been relocated to Russia since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion on February 24.

The United Nations began raising concerns in March about the risk of forced adoption of Ukrainian children, particularly around 91,000 who were living in institutions or boarding schools when the war began, many of them in the country’s contested east.

A girl rides a scooter past a destroyed apartment building in the village of Horenka, Kyiv region

A girl rides a scooter past a destroyed apartment building in the village of Horenka, Kyiv region

Asfhan Khan, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) regional director for Europe and Central Asia, also warned this week that “adoption should never occur during or immediately after an emergency”.

Such children cannot be assumed to be orphans, and “any decision to relocate a child must be made in their best interest and any relocation must be voluntary,” she told reporters, insisting that “parents have a must give informed consent”.

“Regarding children who have been sent to Russia, we are working closely with ombudsmen and networks to see how best we can document these cases,” Khan said, adding that there is currently no access to such children .

She visited Kyiv, Irpin, Bucha, Zhytomyr and Lviv, where she saw the impact of the war on the country’s 7.5 million children.

She said: “The numbers are stunning and must be repeated. Almost two-thirds of Ukraine’s children are displaced – whether they were displaced within the country or fled across the borders as refugees.

“Children who are forced to leave their homes, friends, toys and valuable possessions, and family members, and face uncertainty about the future.

“This instability robs children of their future – trauma and anxiety can have long-lasting effects on children’s physical and mental health.”

Khan claimed 277 were killed and 456 injured, although the numbers are likely underestimated.