Der SpiegelDer Spiegel

Kidnapping as a weapon of war: The abducted children of Ukraine

By Ann-Dorit Boy; Fedir Petrov; Alexander Sarovic

17 Apr 2023 · 10 min read

Editor's Note

Russia has been abducting Ukrainian children on a scale not seen in Europe in years, according to this report in Der Spiegel. The goal, it says, is to rob a country of its future.

The Kremlin has made a habit of seizing Ukrainian boys and girls, with the intention of transforming them into Russian citizens. Families are fighting to get their children back.

It's a gray day at the end of March, and Natalia Zhornyh and her son Artem have just returned to their home country across the Belarusian border. The mother drags a suitcase past men in uniform, rusty tank barriers and concrete pyramids to the Ukrainian village of Domanove. Then, she bursts into tears.

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