New U.S. Report: Thousands Of Ukrainian Children Taken To Belarus

More than 2,400 children from Ukraine aged between 6-17 have been taken to 13 facilities across Belarus since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a new U.S. report, issued by the State Department-supported Conflict Observatory program, suggests, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.

Yale University researchers found that more than 2,000 children were transported to the Dubrava children's centre in Belarus' Minsk region between September 2022 and May 2023. Another 392 children were taken to 12 other facilities.

The estimates are the most up-to-date after Ukraine's prosecutor general said in May that he was investigating the alleged role of Belarus in the forced transfer of children from Russian-occupied territories.

"Russia's systematic effort to identify, collect, transport, and re-educate Ukraine's children has been facilitated by Belarus," reads the report.

The authors conclude that these operations are coordinated at the highest levels of both governments and facilitated by each country’s security forces and ultranationalist militant groups.

The report also finds that officials involved in these relocation operations target children from vulnerable populations, including children with disabilities, children from low-income families, children with military parents, and purported orphans. These children are relocated to Belarus or Russia, potentially without the consent of their families or a clear path to return home.

"These revelations of Belarusian involvement are part of a broader campaign directed by Russia,"  the State Department said in a Thursday night release.

Members of Russia’s military and government have deported hundreds of thousands of Ukraine’s civilians to Russia, including children who have been forcibly separated from their families.

"The United States will continue to pursue accountability for actors involved in abuses connected with Russia’s war against Ukraine," the Department pledged.

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