The Conflict Observatory, a program supported by the U.S. Department of State, today released a report detailing Belarus’s involvement in Russia’s systematic removal of children from Ukraine amid Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war.
According to the Yale Humanitarian Research Lab, a program partner, more than 2,400 children between the ages of six and 17 have been transported from Russia-occupied regions of Ukraine to Dubrava and 12 other facilities in Belarus, where many undergo political and cultural re-education and military training to serve the political interests of Belarus and Russia. The report concludes that these operations are coordinated at the highest levels of both governments and facilitated by each country’s security forces and ultranationalist militant groups.
The report also finds that officials involved in these relocation operations target children from vulnerable populations, including children with disabilities, children from low-income families, children with military parents, and purported orphans. These children are relocated to Belarus or Russia, potentially without the consent of their families or a clear path to return home.
These revelations of Belarusian involvement are part of a broader campaign directed by Russia. Members of Russia’s military and government have deported hundreds of thousands of Ukraine’s civilians to Russia, including children who have been forcibly separated from their families. The United States will continue to pursue accountability for actors involved in abuses connected with Russia’s war against Ukraine.