NewsMoscow's coercive push: Transforming Ukrainian teens into soldiers

Moscow's coercive push: Transforming Ukrainian teens into soldiers

Moscow tries to turn Ukrainian teenagers into soldiers. Illustrative photo.
Moscow tries to turn Ukrainian teenagers into soldiers. Illustrative photo.
Images source: © Getty Images | Sasha Mordovets

8:33 AM EDT, March 15, 2024

Moscow is accused of attempting to transform Ukrainian teenagers into soldiers. Since the conflict commenced, approximately 20,000 children have been transported from Ukraine to Russia. This process of denationalization is meticulously organized, commencing with education and culminating in integration into the ranks of the Russian military. "All Ukrainian teenagers detained in Russia are added to the military recruitment list upon reaching 18," reports the Ukrainian Human Rights Commissioner.

According to Ukrainian authorities and a report by CNN, around 20,000 children have been moved to Russia since the war began. Official figures indicate that over 2,100 children are still missing. Among this group, known as the "Mariupol 13," was Bohdan Yermokhin. The teenager was flown to Moscow on a government aircraft and placed in a foster home before being sent to a patriotic camp near the capital in an effort to alter his nationality.

"I was told Ukraine is losing"

Yermokhin received a Russian passport and was enrolled in a Russian school. Shortly before his 18th birthday in fall 2023, he was served with a military draft notice. "I was told Ukraine is losing, that there, children are exploited for organ donation, and that I would be immediately sent to the battlefield," Yermokhin shared with CNN. Despite this, Bohdan managed to escape and return to Ukraine, asserting that if he were to fight, it would be for his homeland, not against it.

It begins with education

The Ukrainian Human Rights Commissioner, Dmytro Lubinets, believes that Putin's objective is the denationalization of Ukrainians, a process that begins with education. "All schools are mandated to use new textbooks that deny the existence of Ukraine and the Ukrainian nation, suggesting instead that Ukrainian children have always been Russian," he disclosed to CNN.

As Ukrainian teenagers approach adulthood, they are systematically added to the military recruitment list. "This isn't speculative," Lubinets emphasizes, noting actual cases of forced mobilization within the Ukrainian populace held in Russia. Once they turn 18, all Ukrainian teenagers in Russia are placed on the military recruitment list, he informs.

Source: CNN

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