NYT: The Russian authorities took an orphanage from Kherson to Russia, which is a war crime. 46 children disappeared

Kostia Andreikovets

At the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine, Russian officials took 46 children from the Childrenʼs House out of Kherson, which was still occupied at the time. These children ended up in Russia, nothing is known about their whereabouts.

The New York Times writes about it.

There were babies and children under 5 years old in the Childrenʼs Home. Some of them had serious disabilities, such as cerebral palsy. The children were not orphans, some parents had limited rights, and some children were taken from dysfunctional families or abandoned. The staff of the orphanage took care of them.

The children were buried in the basement of the house, then in the vault, and then in the basement of Calvary Church. The Russians found them on April 25, 2022. During the occupation of Kherson, children were kept in the Childrenʼs Home. The management was encouraged to cooperate, and well-known propagandists, such as Anton Krasovsky, and deputies from "United Russia" came to visit the children. The director of the institution Olena Kornienko and one of the teachers Natalia Lukina refused to cooperate and receive a Russian passport and resigned from the institution. In the end, the Russians transported the children almost 300 km from home to Russia, and the whole process was filmed for their propaganda videos.

Journalists then began to find photos of these Kherson children in the Russian federal data bank of orphans among tens of thousands of Russian children. Their questionnaires do not list Ukraine as their place of birth.

Russian officials claim that the relocation of the children was a humanitarian mission and in line with their Constitution, as Russia illegally annexed the occupied Kherson region.

Specialists in the protection of human rights say that the laws of an individual state cannot be higher than international obligations. What the Russians did can be qualified as a war crime aimed at erasing the Ukrainian identity of children. The deported children received Russian citizenship for further adoption.

Already in May 2022, the leader of the Russian Federation, Putin, signed a decree that simplified the requirements for obtaining Russian citizenship and allowed in the occupied regions of Ukraine to submit applications on behalf of Ukrainian children for Russian citizenship. This made it easier for the Russians to adopt kidnapped Ukrainian children.

Erasing Ukrainian identity from children is part of a consistent campaign by Putinʼs state campaign aimed at destroying the nation.