On Thursday, thousands of teddy bears and toys were placed in front of the European Commission building in Brussels.
The symbolic action led by members of Avaaz and Ukrainian refugees was meant to be a reminder of the thousands of Ukrainian children Russian forces have relocated to camps since Russia launched its war of aggression against Ukraine a year ago.
In a new report, a group of Yale researchers estimate that more than 6,000 children have been held in camps and facilities in mainland Russia and occupied Crimea. The researchers say Russia unnecessarily put the children up for adoption and foster care.
According to the report, the victims are between four months and 17 years old. “The total number of children is not known and is likely significantly higher than 6,000,” the report reads. The forcible transfer of children and the failure to return children to their parents, the researchers said, may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity.
Even children, regarded as the most innocent beings on earth, are not spared by the battle. According to the Twitter account @nexta tv, 152 kids have died since the Donbas conflict started in 2014. On February 24, Russia began a full-scale invasion as the situation heated up.
As of April 13, since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of #Ukraine, 191 children have been killed and 349 children have been wounded.
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) April 13, 2022
Nexta also posted a paper claiming that 349 children have been injured and 191 have died since April 13, 2022.
According to the statement, a total of 3,095 civilian deaths related to war were reported by OHCHR between April 14, 2014, and September 30, 2021 (1,841 men, 1,065 women, 102 boys, 50 girls, and 37 people whose gender is unclear).
The overall number of civilian deaths from the conflict has at least reached 3,393 when taking into account the 298 fatalities on board Malaysian Airlines aircraft MH17 on July 17, 2014. Almost 7,000 individuals are thought to have been injured.