Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the Russians have abducted 2,389 Ukrainian children. However, much larger numbers may emerge after the liberation of the occupied territories.

“Speaking of the forced displacement of our children to the Russian Federation, different sources give different figures. We rely on official data: 2,389 children have been abducted. Partly we know who these children are and where they are, partly search operations are underway. International organizations are involved, including the International Committee of the Red Cross. But the figures we announce today are tentative as we have not yet entered the occupied territories. I think these figures can increase manifold. Every Ukrainian child, like every Ukrainian citizen, must return to the territory of Ukraine. Each case of return is a separate algorithm of actions, even a separate special operation,” Darya Herasymchuk, Advisor – Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for Children’s Rights and Rehabilitation.

As noted, Russia speaks about taking out about 200,000 Ukrainian children. Russia says they evacuate children from dangerous areas. But if a child is evacuated, all documents must be drawn up, a child must be returned immediately. Nobody in Russia is going to do this.

“From a legal point of view, we can’t talk about the evacuation at all. We are talking about forced displacement (if a child is taken to the occupied territories of Ukraine) or forced deportation (if a child is taken to the regions of Russia). Of course, the procedure is absolutely illegal because any movement is prohibited under the Geneva Convention,” the Commissioner said.

The same applies to the adoption of Ukrainian children in Russia, Herasymchuk noted.