The Conflict Observatory, a programme supported by the U.S. Department of State, released a report detailing the involvement of the Lukashenko regime of Belarus in Russia’s systematic removal of children from Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Yale School of Public Health’s Humanitarian Research Lab (Yale HRL), a programme partner, reveals that Russian forces abducted at least 2,442 children from Ukraine and brought them to Belarus since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The systematic deportation of children from Ukraine to Belarus is a joint effort between Belarus and Russia through the Union State.
The Russian and Belarusian regimes coordinate in removing children from Ukraine and transporting them through Russia to Belarus. The children, according to the findings, are subjected to re-education, sometimes including military training.
Belarus’ direct involvement in Russia’s forced deportation of children represents a collaboration between Belarus’ dictator Alexander Lukashenko and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Several pro-Russia and pro-regime organisations are involved in the deportation procedures.
The report states that both governments coordinate these operations with the help of their security forces and ultranationalist militant groups.
According to the report, officials involved in relocation operations specifically target children from vulnerable populations, including children with disabilities, children from low-income families, children with military parents, and those believed to be orphans. The relocation locations are usually Belarus or Russia.
On June 29, former Belarusian Culture Minister and member of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus Pavel Latushka said that he had handed over materials to the ICC indicating that 2,100 or more children from some 15 Russian-occupied cities in Ukraine had been removed forcibly to Belarus with Lukashenko’s assent. The ex-minister said he hoped the documents provided would result in an ICC warrant for Lukashenko’s arrest, just as ICC warrants had been issued last March for President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova.
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