Statement on behalf of Andorra, Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States in response to the Russian Federation’s Arria-formula meeting on the unlawful forced deportation of children by the Russian Federation in Ukraine.
Today, the Russian Federation will further abuse the powers and privileges of a Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to spread disinformation about its widespread abduction and unlawful forced deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children.
Numerous credible sources, including the International Criminal Court, the International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, academic institutions, trusted media organizations, and independent non-governmental organizations, have all called attention to Russia’s unlawful forced deportation of children from within Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
These reprehensible actions have taken place in the context of the Russian Federation’s full-scale invasion and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, which we condemn unreservedly.
The Russian Federation will seek to present its actions in Ukraine as in line with international law, children’s rights, and the Children and Armed Conflict agenda. This could not be farther from the truth. The facts are clear:
- Russian authorities have interrogated, detained, and forcibly deported over 19,500 Ukrainian children from their homes within Ukraine to Russia.[i] This has included the deliberate separation of children from their parents and the abduction of children from orphanages before placing these children for adoption within Russia.
- The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine has determined that Russia’s transfer and deportation of children, within Ukraine and to the Russian Federation, violate international humanitarian law, and amount to a war crime.
- The President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, and the President’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, are both subjects of arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court for the war crime of unlawful deportation of children and that of unlawful transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
We unequivocally condemn the Russian Federation’s actions in Ukraine, including and in particular the forced deportation of Ukrainian children, as well as other grave violations against children committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.
No amount of disinformation spread by the Russian Federation can deny the truth of the matter, nor shield individuals from accountability for these crimes.
[i] According to information collected by the Government of Ukraine: https://childrenofwar.gov.ua/en/