International spotlight needed to end forced deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia – MEP Maria Walsh

Fine Gael MEP Maria Walsh has called for renewed efforts from international actors to end the forced and illegal deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia. 

MEPs discussed the action needed to address the urgent concerns regarding Ukrainian children being forcibly moved to Russia with the European Council and Commission this week. 

Almost 20,000 children have been deported or forcibly displaced, while only 388 have been returned.

MEP Maria Walsh, who has visited the Ukrainian border, said: 

In a week where we have heard An Taoiseach highlight the plight of children suffering in Gaza, we must see a doubling of efforts from all international leaders to end the cruelty being inflicted upon the most innocent victims of war. 

“The international spotlight must be shone on the cruel and illegal deportation of children from their homes in Ukraine to Russia, where they suffer horrendous abuse, are subject to neglect and in some cases face torture and starvation. 

“Children have relayed their experiences of being snatched from their homes at night. Some are subjected to ideological screening, prolonged detention, and military training. Children with disabilities are left without care or medication, while many young people lose all contact with their parents. 

Given that attempts for diplomatic conversations with Putin have little effect, a worldwide ‘blaming and shaming campaign’ is needed to increase pressure on the Russian authorities. Such a campaign requires buy-in from governments, businesses, and international stakeholders, as well as cooperation from traditional and social media outlets.”