French Senate calls on EU to trace Ukrainian children deported by Russia

The French Senate has requested EU institutions and nations to gather proof of the forceful relocation of Ukrainian children to Russia. 

The Senate’s resolution also asks to sanction Russian officials implicated in these crimes, Euractiv reported.

The resolution denounces the Russian Federation’s deportation of Ukrainian children, and the Moscow regime’s stance toward the administrative and widespread naturalization, name change, and filiation of children brought to its territory. It received unanimous approval.

For example, the radical left (La France Insoumise) boycotted a previous National Assembly vote on a resolution designating the Holodomor, a 1932–1933 famine in Ukraine, as genocide, and the Communist Party voted against it. The French leftists have had traditional positive sentiments for Moscow, since Soviet times, due to ties with the Soviet Communist Party.

On March 17, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest order for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, who coordinated these significant deportations of Ukrainian kids to Russia.

The Senate’s stance would strengthen a collaborative endeavor between Poland and the European Commission unveiled in February to gather evidence, locate the children, and prosecute those responsible for these crimes.

There is optimism that the punishments for kidnapping children will become more severe. The 10th EU sanctions package, approved in late February, already included a first round of sanctions on this issue. 

The resolution, which has no legal implications, should contribute to mounting pressure on the Russian government, especially in light of the extensive efforts to conceal kidnapped Ukrainian kids.

Experts also draw attention to the challenges in locating the kidnapped children and gathering proof. The resolution also calls on the European Union and its members to contribute as much as they can to data and intelligence gathering.

The EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, Eurojust, is urged to get more human, material, and financial resources from the French government. It also calls for a diplomatic effort on the part of the international community to open channels of communication and hasten the process of returning Ukrainian children to their country by allowing international humanitarian organizations access to these children while they are on Russian soil and in Russian-controlled areas.

Establishing whether there have been even more horrific crimes is another crucial goal of such investigations and studies. The number Russia provided, more than 700,000 displaced children, could be used to cover up some child murders.

In the upcoming weeks or months, the National Assembly, the lower chamber of the French parliament, is anticipated to follow the Senate’s example.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), hundreds of Ukrainian children in foster homes have been forcibly relocated to seized territory or Russia itself since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Since the beginning of the full-scale war, Russians have deported more than 11.2 thousand children from Ukraine (as of November 2022). The Ukrainian government published data on killed, wounded, and abducted children on the website The Office of the Prosecutor General confirmed this data.

Read also: Russia abducted and deported over 11 thousand Ukrainian children, a war crime

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