Moscow has removed 700,000 children from Ukraine, says Russian MP

Russia has brought 700,000 children from the conflict zones of Ukraine into Russian territory, the head of the international committee in the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, has said.

Grigory Karasin said on his Telegram messaging channel late on Sunday:

In recent years, 700,000 children have found refuge with us, fleeing the bombing and shelling from the conflict areas in Ukraine.

Reuters also reports that Moscow says its program of bringing children from Ukraine into Russian territory is to protect orphans and children abandoned in conflict zones.

However, Ukraine says many children have been illegally deported and the US says thousands of children have been forcibly removed from their homes.

Most of the movement of people and children occurred in the first few months of the war, which began in February 2022.

In July 2022, the US estimated that Russia had “forcibly deported” 260,000 children, while Ukraine’s ministry of integration of occupied territories says 19,492 Ukrainian children are currently considered illegally deported.