The children were taken out from the so-called “DPR” and “LPR” territories and from the territories occupied by the Russian troops after February 24. Paperwork and selection of foster families began in June, after Putin signed a decree on a simplified procedure for obtaining citizenship for orphans “from the DPR, LPR or Ukraine.” Maria Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for Children’s Rights under the President of the Russian Federation, reported that by the end of July, “108 orphans of Donbass who have received Russian citizenship will have parents.” Most of the children before family placement were in temporary accommodation centers in Kursk and Rostov-on-Don.
The Ukrainian authorities consider the actions of the Russian military to evacuate children from Ukrainian cities illegal and demand the transfer of the evacuated children to Ukraine. According to Art. 49 of the Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and Art. 85 of the Additional Protocol of 1977, it is prohibited, regardless of motives, to carry out forced individual or mass resettlement or deportation of people from the occupied territory to the territory of the occupying state. This rule also applies to children.
According to TASS, as of July 24, 448 000 Ukrainian children crossed the Russian border, of which more than two thousand are orphans and children deprived of parental care. In the future, the authorities of the Russian Federation want to convert to Russian citizenship all orphans who were taken to Russia from the territory of Ukraine.