During a hearing held by the U.S. Helsinki Commission, a Ukrainian official accused Russia of kidnapping approximately 13,000 Ukrainian children "under the guise of an alleged evacuation" or deportation from Ukraine, The Hill reported.
On Wednesday, Nikolay Kuleba, the commissioner for children's rights in Ukraine and co-founder of the Alliance for Ukraine Without Orphans, said Russia had deported 13,124 children since its invasion of Ukraine in late February.
"The occupiers are kidnapping Ukrainian children to the Russian Federation," said Kuleba, while accusing the Russian government of bribing its citizens to adopt them.
"To encourage ordinary Russian to adopt forcibly removed children, they offer a one-time payment of maternity capital and state aid," Kuleba said. The Ukrainian official then added the Russian government would pay $300 per year for each child and roughly $2,000 for a child with disabilities.
Kuleba went on to point out that Russia has been deporting the kids far from the Ukraine-Russia border.
"The Russian authorities made a conscious decision to resettle deported children into the territories thousands of kilometers away from Ukraine," said Kuleba.
The co-founder of the Alliance for Ukraine Without Orphans also asserted that Russian adopters could change the child's name and date of birth.
"This means that it will be very difficult for us to personally find and identify our children in the future," Kuleba added.
Kuleba then stated that Russia is taking the children to make up for its own casualties seen in the war.
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