Home Featured Deported Ukrainian children sent to ‘survival training’ with Belarus military
Deported Ukrainian children sent to ‘survival training’ with Belarus military

Deported Ukrainian children sent to ‘survival training’ with Belarus military

by host

Dozens of Ukrainian children from a Russian-occupied city in Ukraine were taken to Belarus and sent to “emergency survival training” with the Belarusian military, according to local media.

The Belarus 4 Mogilev state television channel reported on Wednesday that 35 children from the city of Antratsyt in eastern Ukraine, which Russia has occupied since 2014, were sent to the eastern Belarusian city of Mogilev, where they were taught “how to behave in extreme situations” in exercises with the Belarusian military.

In the report, the children — some of whom are wearing tracksuits with Russian flags printed on their sleeves — are shown holding on to each other and covering their faces during a fire drill.

Thousands of Ukrainian children have been deported to Russia and Belarus from Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. In July 2023, Russian Children’s Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova put the figure of Ukrainian children “received” by Russia at 700,000, claiming most were accompanied by their parents or other relatives.

A study by Yale University found that between September 2022 and May 2023, over 2,400 Ukrainian children aged 6 to 17 were deported to Belarus from the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine, which are occupied by Russian forces.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko met with a group of deported Ukrainian kids last month, promising to “embrace these children, bring them to our home, keep them warm and make their childhood happier.”

In March 2023, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lvova-Belova, accusing them of overseeing the “unlawful deportation” of Ukrainian children. Moscow has rejected the allegations.

“We cannot allow children to be treated as if they are the spoils of war,” ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said in a statement.

In April, the Council of Europe described the “forcible transfer and russification of Ukrainian children” as “evidence of a genocide.”

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