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Russia’s Theft of Children in Ukraine Is Genocide

Azeem Ibrahim

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Moscow is out to destroy a people.

It is now increasingly clear that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a war of genocide. Mounted with genocidal intent, pursued with determined genocidal effort, the war is an assault not only on Ukrainians and Ukrainian nationhood, but the idea of Ukrainian-ness itself.

It has involved the wholesale killing and mass rape of Ukrainians. And, with increasing obviousness, the war has involved the mass theft of Ukrainian children by Russia—an act of forced population transfer that meets the definition of genocide according to the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Late last year, the Washington Post reported details of a Russian plan to ship Ukrainian children out of their home country, to give them new Russian families and Russian identities, and to in so doing destroy the Ukrainian nation one child at a time.

The numbers are vast and difficult to confirm. But the stories are now being widely reported across Ukrainian areas occupied at any time in the past year by Russia. Most horrifically of all, orphaned Ukrainian children whose parents were killed during the country’s invasion have been scooped up by Russian troops, sent to Russia, and told they are little Russians—and that they were never Ukrainian at all.

This is part of a larger cultural understanding of Russia’s genocidal war: The children can be taken and told they are Russian because, in the Russian official mind, Ukraine does not exist, never existed, and must therefore be stricken from history.

Read the rest in Foreign Policy.