New attempts to forcibly take orphans to Russia
Attempts to effectively kidnap children from two Donbas school-orphanages have been condemned by both the Human Rights Ombudsperson Valeria Lutkovska and the governor of the Donetsk oblast Serhiy Taruta.
A few days ago Kremlin-backed militants from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic arrived at the Mariyinsk school-orphanage and demanded that the head of the orphanage take the children then and there to Russia. The 54 children and their teachers categorically refused to go and they succeeded then in moving the children to Donetsk.
On Monday, July 14, the militants returned and took the children away. Novosti Donbasa reports the Donetsk regional administration to be speaking of 150 children from both the Mariyinsk and Donetsk school orphanages. The militants are holding them, and it is believed that they are in danger of “forced deportation to Russia”. The militants are reported by some media to be claiming that the children will be safer in Russia. It is these same militants who have been taking hostages, terrorising residents, etc, so it is next to impossible to believe that they are genuinely concerned for the children’s safety and not for the propaganda effect of taking the children to Russia.
The Ombudsperson has also called on the head of the Russian Border Guard Service, Vladimir Kulishov to ensure that the children are not taken into Russia.
This is not the first such case. On June 12 militants abducted children from the Snizhne Orphanage and took them across the border into Russia.
It is likely that the militants and Russian media were hoping for a good heart-rending story about Russia as noble defender of children in danger from the Ukrainian military. They did not get it. Nine of the 25 children in the bus broke free of their ‘defenders’ at the border. The others were effectively abducted and returned the following day after Ukraine’s Justice Ministry approached the European Court of Human Rights which applied Rule 39, obliging the Russian government to provide an explanation for the children’s illegal transportation across the border by June 17. Human Rights Ombudsperson Valeria Lutkovska made at least two formal appeals to Russia’s Prosecutor General calling for measures to secure the children’s safety and release (more details at Russian tanks and Ukrainian orphans in Moscow’s unabated offensive