A little over a year ago, the International Criminal Court opened an investigation to document Vladimir Putin's responsibility as a "
In the line of sight, the bombardments of civilians in urban areas.
Twelve months later, the international court did indeed issue - in record time - an arrest warrant against the Russian president, but for another reason: "the expulsion
illegal transfer of Ukrainian children
from the occupied regions to the Russian Federation
Incidents documented by my Office include the deportation of at least hundreds of children abducted from orphanages and homes
,” the ICC prosecutor said in a March 17 statement.
Many of these children, we believe, have since been given up for adoption in the Russian Federation
Multiple cross-referenced sources
The noise around repeated “
” of children by the Russian occupier appeared from the first months of the war.
As early as April 2022, Kiev began to warn of "
" and "
" of minors, from infants to adolescents, taken "
" from the Donetsk region or Mariupol to Russia.
Since then, several NGO reports have supported these accusations.
That of Amnesty International in November reports 10,764 minors separated from their families, in Russia or in the occupied zones.
The NGO says it's not just about orphans, as Moscow claims.
In February, an in-depth investigation by the American University Yale alerted to the existence of "
" where young Ukrainians learned Russian patriotic principles, without the consent of their parents.
Finally on March 13, Human Rights Watch in turn alerted of the danger in which the approximately 32,000 children found themselves in care in orphanage-type institutions in the occupied territories.
Because before the invasion of Russia in February 2022, Ukraine already had more than 105,000 children in residential institutions, the highest figure in Europe after Russia.
In certain areas of the Donbass, special offices have been set up from the spring of 2022 to speed up the transfer of these children, under the aegis of the Commissioner for the Rights of the Child, Maria Lvova-Belova - also under the mandate of ICC shutdown.
Considering these multiple sources, as of October, the ICC takes it for granted that the “
” of the Ukrainian population is one of the vectors of the “
vast policy of destruction of Ukrainian identity
” led by Russia.
A policy assumed in Russia
Thus, orphans collected in homes, centers, boarding schools, some with chronic illnesses, but who had parents and relatives, were sent to 57 regions of Russia, some very remote, further reducing their chances of returning a day in the country.
The Kiev authorities, to identify them, have created an ah hoc site, Children of War, which has more than 16,000 “
In Moscow, this policy is fully accepted.
It is assured that it is a question of protecting “
Last May, Maria Lvova-Belov announced the arrival of 100 children aged 3 to 17, most often orphans and receiving Russian citizenship through an expedited procedure.
A law is amended to this effect in the summer of 2022 by presidential decree, to accelerate the granting of Russian citizenship to children and facilitate their adoption.
The phenomenon is displayed in an uninhibited way, like this couple living in Novosibirsk in Siberia, whom AFP met in mid-March.
Already parents of eleven children, Roman and Ekaterina Vinogradov adopted five others last summer from Lugansk, aged 3 to 12, whose mother had been deprived of parental authority.
Russian social services called us and asked: 'Would you like to take children from Ukraine?'
“, Ekaterina told AFP.
We said, 'OK, we'll welcome them. What difference does it make? Children remain children. Their nation doesn't matter
I haven't robbed anyone.
And they don't think they were stolen
, ”says Russian pastor Roman Vinogradov, here on March 10, 2023. ALEXANDER NEMENOV / AFP
Russian pastor Roman Vinogradov and his wife Yekaterina have 16 children, five of whom recently arrived from eastern Ukraine.
ALEXANDER NEMENOV / AFP
It should be noted that on the sidelines of the announcement of the arrest warrant, no information filtered on the potential evidence held by the preliminary chamber of the Criminal Court.
The decisions of the permanent court are not public.
Such a practice by Russia, however, had already been observed during the annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014.
At the time, “
there were 4,323 orphans and children without parental care
,” explains the ICC
The Russian Federation has consistently denied Ukraine access to these children and has failed to respond to inquiries about their fate.
It is now known from open sources that (...) thanks to the "Train of Hope" program, at least twelve children from the peninsula (...) were adopted by citizens of the Russian Federation and transferred to different regions of Russia
,” the jurisdiction said in a statement in October.