Following the illegal occupation of Crimea, the Russian authorities forcibly issued RF documents to Ukrainian orphans and children deprived of parental care who lived in Crimean institutions, according to the representative of for Children's Rights Ombudsman in Ukraine Aksana Filipishina, as cited by Gromadske radio.
Aksana Filipishina stressed that the procedure was carried out without the children’s consent:
“Nobody asked the children. We had only one case with three girls from Simferopol boarding school, who expressed their objection against Russian occupation of Crimea. They were teenagers aged 15-16 who said they did not recognize this annexation and did not want to be citizens of Russia. Let me once again emphasize that they were given a full package of documents, put on a train Simferopol - Kiev, when there still was a traffic communication, and sent to the mainland of Ukraine.”
The rest of the children were impossible to take back except for the rare cases, Filipishina said. The data on those orphans who currently join the Crimean boarding schools or foster families is not available to Kyiv authorities.
A spokeswoman for the Ombudsman says that the situation with orphans in Crimea is critical. According to her estimates and the Ukrainian law, Russia has simply stolen at least four thousand Ukrainian children. Many of them have already been taken to the territory of the Russian Federation and handed over to the families of Russian citizens. All the protests and requests of the official Kiev received an answer: These children are not yours, they became Russian together with the peninsula.
“The so-called "trains of happiness", brought the echelons of prospective adoptive parents, but it turned out that they were candidates for foster families. So the children are not adopted, but taken homes with foster care. Any note, even by the Ukrainian government, just hangs in the air. And, of course, we get the replies saying that the Crimea is the territory of Russia, so the children are now Russian as well, and their education is totally Russia’s business."
Unfortunately, Ukraine is not able to prevent further transfer of the Crimean children to the Russian mainland, and therefore the list of the stolen young Ukrainians is to increase over the time, the representative of the Ombudsman concluded.