Russia’s abduction of thousands of Ukrainian children and adult civilians as part of its war on Ukraine calls for urgent U.S. and international action to both save Ukraine’s children and civilians and to hold Russia accountable for its war crimes.
The Ukrainian government has documented close to 20,000 cases of children taken to Russia or Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine for forced russification and assimilation, a war crime under the Geneva Convention that could amount to genocide. In response, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Russian President Putin and Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova. The Ukrainian government also estimates that up to 10,000 adult civilians may have been detained or used by the Russian military for forced labor, in contravention of international law. Media reports that many of these innocent civilians may have been tortured and later spuriously charged with transgressions as minor as speaking Ukrainian, as well as that the Russian government is planning to build numerous new detention centers in areas of Ukraine it currently illegally occupies.
This hearing will hear directly from children who were rescued from Russian custody as well as testimony from top Ukrainian officials and non-governmental organizations working on the ground to locate and return Ukrainian children and adult civilians. It will also discuss what the United States and the international community can do to support Ukraine, including a new bill to address these challenges, Oleksander’s Act, which is dedicated to the Ukrainian children who have suffered during Russia’s war of aggression.
All hearings are open to the public.