UN: Russia taking Ukrainian children
Detained Ukrainian civilians are losing their children
UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) — The United Nations cited “credible accusations” Wednesday that Moscow’s forces have forcibly taken Ukrainian children to Russia, while Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the West of benefitting from the eased grain blockade.
In Washington and at a UN Security Council meeting, Moscow was accused of forcing large numbers of Ukrainian non-combatants into detention camps and even prisons via a Kremlin-directed “filtration” program, and removing children from the war zone to hand over to adoptive parents inside Russia.
“We are concerned that the Russian authorities have adopted a simplified procedure to grant Russian citizenship to children without parental care, and that these children would be eligible for adoption by Russian families,” Ilze Brands Kehris, the assistant UN secretary-general for human rights, told the Security Council.
Some Ukrainians judged as close to the Ukraine government or military have been tortured and forcibly removed and sent to Russian penal colonies and other detention centers, she said.
The US State Department said Putin’s office is directly managing the relocation of Ukrainians into Russia, and doing it as part of a plan to annex occupied territory.
But Russian UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya called the allegations unfounded and said what was labeled “filtration” was simply registering Ukrainians willingly fleeing the war to Russia.
“As far as we can judge similar procedures are applied in Poland and other countries of the European Union against Ukrainian refugees,” he told the Security Council.
Meanwhile, Putin accused Europe of taking advantage of Russia’s lifting of a blocked on Ukraine grain exports to help itself while poorer countries were being deprived of essential food.
“Almost all the grain exported from Ukraine is sent not to the poorest developing countries, but to EU countries,” Putin alleged.
In Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian troops have recaptured several settlements southeast of Kharkiv region in a counter-offensive, though he declined to name them.
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