Published On: Wed, Jul 3rd, 2024
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Putin demands Ukrainian parents pick one child to send to Russia ‘summer camps’ | World | News

Ukrainian parents are now facing their worst nightmare as Vladimir Putin adopted a new strategy in a chilling effort to “re-educate” children from occupied territories.

Russia officials are allegedly demanding parents pick at least one child to be sent into Moscow’s ominous network of so-called “summer camps.”

Since the start of the invasion of Ukraine in 2022, evidence has emerged to suggest that Putin is using the camps to grab as many Ukrainian children as possible to then put them up for adoption in Russia.

Families refusing to comply are being threatened with having their parental rights on all of their children, with warnings that “you’ll never see them again,” according to a shocking report.

The allegations have emerged as part of Ukraine‘s efforts to build its war crimes case against Vladimir Putin at the International Court of Justice. The case also targets the mastermind of the child-snatching plot, Putin adviser Maria Lvova-Belova.

Ukraine‘s presidential commissioner for children’s rights and rehabilitation claimed Moscow has been removing Ukrainian children from their families to lock them up in what Russia calls summer camps.

Daria Herasymchuk said some families reported they were threatened when they attempted to refuse handing over their children and were forced to comply.

Ms Herasymchuk said: “In some occupied areas it looks like locals were paying a so-called tax with their children.

“The authorities come to the family and say, ‘We know your family has four children so you have to send one child into the camp. You choose which one it will be’.

“When the parents say no they threaten them, saying, ‘We will strip you of all parental rights and we will take all your kids away and you’ll never see them again. So you must decide which one is going into the camp’.”

A 15-year-old boy told the presidential commissioner he was held in a camp for nine months because his father was suspected of helping Ukrainian troops. He was ultimately recovered by his mother with help from Kyiv.

She said: “The boy was taken to what the Russians call a summer camp but it was actually a huge hangar, like a warehouse, without windows, where 15 of them were kept.

“They were allowed out once a day for a little stroll but apart from that they were kept locked inside. They had just bunk beds, nothing else.”

She added: “This young man would say it was imprisonment – and there is huge pain in the boy’s eyes as he tells this story.”

Since the start of the invasion, Moscow has claimed to have “rescued” 744,000 Ukrainian children while Kyiv reported a confirmed 20,000 cases of child abduction.

The Ukrainian government, however, fears that as many as 300,000 children may have been kidnapped by Russian authorities.

Ms Herasymchuk said the children are initially taken to the occupied region of Donetsk to be processed before they are issued a Russian passport. They are then provided with Russian cellphones and handed over to foster families from all over Russia, including Siberia.

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