Ukrainian government officials say Russia has "deported" more than 13,000 children from Ukraine since the invasion began in February.
Daria Herasymchuk, an advisor to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said that the actual figure could be much higher, reports independent news agency Interfax Ukraine.
"The authorities in Moscow had deported or relocated the kids from areas occupied by Russian forces and this, unfortunately, is not the final figure," the agency quoted Herasymchuk saying.
Ukraine's National Information Bureau states that no less than 13,112 children have been "deported" since Russia invaded the country. According to Ukrainian law enforcement, at least 443 children have been killed, and 855 have been wounded. Additionally, 330 children have gone missing, the agency reported.
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In October, the Associated Press reported that Russia had deported children "without consent, lied to them that they weren't wanted by their parents, and used them for propaganda."
Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree making it easier for Russians to adopt and give citizenship to Ukrainian children without parental care, making it harder for Ukraine and surviving relatives to win them back, the AP reported.
Earlier, Russian media reported that more than 3.4 million people, including over 555,000 Ukrainian kids, had been transported to Russia from combat zones.
Meanwhile, the fighting continues as Russian forces are shelling Ukrainian positions in Donetsk Oblast. Kyiv has accused Russia of installing rocket launchers at its Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Ukraine has begun using long-range weapons to strike Russian-occupied Melitopol, a strategically located city in the country's southeast.
Photo: manhhai from Flickr.
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