Invaders have taken more than 1,000 children from Mariupol to Russia – human rights defender

The Russian invaders have taken more than 1,000 Ukrainian children from the captured Mariupol to the Russian Federation, and this is not the final figure.

Mykola Komarovskyi, a lawyer of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, said this during the presentation of a legally substantiated submission to the International Criminal Court about the genocide of people in Mariupol by the Russian invaders at the Ukrinform press center.

“Regarding this submission, all the data on the deportation of children are taken from open sources. It is currently difficult to name the exact number because, on the basis of some publications [in the Russian mass media], we are talking about more than a thousand such children. However, it is quite difficult to name the exact figure for the city of Mariupol. But we know about these cases,” Komarovskyi said.

As for actual data, he added, there are known cases of children being taken from the city of Mariupol to sports and recreation resorts and camps in Russia.

“It is known that in the children were studying directly in camps so as not to interrupt the educational process. But, as we can guess, this process adhered to the Russian system. Children are taught the Russian version of history, they were told about the events taking place in Ukraine from the point of view of the Russian Federation. That is, children, who lived in Ukraine and studied in their native language, got into a completely different environment, where their native language is clearly perceived as hostile,” the lawyer said.

He also noted that the first passports were issued to Ukrainian children in Moscow region on July 5, 2022, and the group included children from Mariupol.

“There was also a publication on the website of the Russian Department for Family and Childhood, which indicated that more than 1,000 children from ‘liberated Mariupol’ found new families in certain regions of Russia,” Komarovskyi said.

He noted that Tyumen, Irkutsk, Kemerovo regions, and Altai Territory were mentioned.

“At the same time, it is interesting that when this information got to the Ukrainian mass media, it was later deleted, and the Russians said that the website was allegedly hacked and the information was fake. But when we worked on this submission, we used certain services to store the information. And it was quite obvious that the information was true, but the Russians tried to hide it,” the human rights defender explained.