By Paul Goble
n most wars, children suffer as collateral damage from the conflict; but in Putin’s war in Ukraine, they are victims as well of conscious Russian policies directed at the most defenseless portion of the population intended not only to frighten and intimidate the Ukrainian people but to deprive that nation of a future.
Ukrainian prosecutors have already opened more than 1000 criminal cases against Russian troops for military crimes against children, including murders, rapes, and kidnapings, as well as the destruction of schools and other institutions for children (zmina.ua/event/yak-rosiya-rujnuye-ukrayinske-dytynstvo-doslidnyky-rozpovily-pro-voyenni-zlochyny-shhodo-ditej/).
As horrific as those crimes are, an even more disturbing and fateful action by Russian forces against Ukraine’s children and its future is the forced deportation of 234,000 Ukrainian children to Russia and their adoption by Russian families and the forced involvement of Ukrainian children in occupied areas in schemes to prepare them to fight against their homeland.
Both these phenomena have been well documented – see interfax.com.ua/news/general/836332.html and iz.ru/1342642/2022-05-31/detskii-ombudsmen-zaiavila-o-zhelanii-rossiian-usynovit-detei-iz-lnr-i-dnr for the first and t.me/andriyshTime/1072 https://graniru.org/Society/Kids/m.285249.html for the second.
And both of them fall under the terms of internationally agreed-to definitions of genocide – see newlinesinstitute.org/an-independent-legal-analysis-of-the-russian-federations-breaches-of-the-genocide-convention-in-ukraine-and-the-duty-to-prevent/. As such, these Russian crimes against Ukrainian children provide a compelling case for Western intervention to stop them.