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700K Ukrainian Children Transferred to Russia Since Invasion – Official

Children from eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region arrive at a refugee camp in Russia's Rostov region. Igor Ivanko / Kommersant

Russia has “received” more than 700,000 Ukrainian children after launching its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, Russia’s presidential commissioner for children's rights said in a report published Sunday.

“Since February 2022, the Russian Federation has received about 4.8 million residents of Ukraine and the Donbas republics [of Donetsk and Luhansk], more than 700,000 of whom are children,” the report reads.

An “overwhelming majority” of the 700,000 Ukrainian children arrived in Russia with their parents or relatives, children’s rights commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova said without offering further details. 

Her report lists 1,500 orphans who were evacuated to Russia from the separatist eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, 380 of whom have since been adopted by Russian parents. 

The report makes no mention of orphans from other Ukrainian territories, noting only that 52 orphans from the Russian-occupied Kherson region were “temporarily” transported to annexed Crimea in November 2022.

Lvova-Belova and President Vladimir Putin are under an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for the “unlawful deportation” of Ukrainian children.

A UN-backed investigation has determined that Russia’s forced transfer and deportation of Ukrainian children to Russian-controlled territories amounts to a war crime.

The Kremlin has dismissed the ICC warrant as legally “void” since Russia does not recognize the Hague-based court’s jurisdiction.

Kyiv says around 19,500 Ukrainian children have been deported to Russia since the invasion, with many believed to have been placed in institutions and foster homes.

Another 15,500 children have since been found and 386 returned by Russia, according to the Ukrainian government’s “Children of War” database.

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