A UKRAINIAN teenager who was kidnapped from school and shipped off to a hellhole Russian camp has told of the horrors he faced.
Save UkraineVitaliy (far right) returned to his mum and family in Kyiv after six months in a Russian camp[/caption]
TelegramChildren as young as three – pictured at an unknown camp – have been torn apart from their families[/caption]
AFPPutin and his Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova have led the illegal kidnapping efforts[/caption]
Russia is estimated to have kidnapped well over 20,000 Ukrainian children since the start of the war, and sending them to become “Russified”.
The terrified children who resist Russian forces are locked up and often drugged – while others are sent to fight against their home country as soldiers.
Vitaliy told The Sunday Times: “That’s what I thought was going to happen to me. They told me my mum had abandoned me.”
The truth was, Vitaliy’s mum Inessa was working hard to bring back her eldest son – enlisting the help of an organisation who took six days to reach where Vitaliy was.
Vitaliy spent six months in a camp in Crimea before being rescued in March this year.
He was told he was going on a two-week holiday camp with pupils from his school and they were herded onto a boat and then a bus for a 12-hour journey.
But the teenager soon realised it was not a holiday.
He told how he was stuck in a room with four others – and they were only fed soup and buckwheat while facing beatings from the “camp employees”.
Vitaliy said they were forced to get up for 7am parades and listen to the Russian national anthem for hours.
The kidnapped kids were also taught about the “Russian system”, and told how bad Ukraine was, the youngster said.
He also recalled hearing a 13-year-old girl in the camp scream as she was allegedly raped by the Russian “counsellors”.
One day while Vitaliy was going to the shop with his friend, the camp director believed he had been passing information to Ukraine.
He was brutally locked in the basement for hours as punishment.
Shockingly, Vitaliy and his friend were paraded around and called traitors while other children jeered at them and shouted “Glory to.”
When Vitaliy and a group of pals decided to listen to the Ukrainian anthem, he said he was locked up for four days and given “food on metal plates like dogs”.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, Vitaliy described the camp director as “totally sadistic”.
The 16-year-old was eventually rescued and returned to Kyiv, where he’s receiving counselling and trying to return to normal life.
He said: “It’s so good to wake up in the morning and not have to sing the Russian anthem.
“I feel free, I love exploring Kyiv, going to McDonald’s and watching the bungee jumpers from the bridge over the Dnipro River. One day I’d like to do that.”
Last year, a Sun investigation revealed Vlad’s crony Maria Lvova Belova had headed up an organisation tasked with putting kidnapped Ukrainian children into Russian homes.
A member of the organisation, Into the Hands of Children, has now been linked to a Neo-Nazi group, while another sponsored a chilling anti-LGBTQ bill, according to a report by the Ukrainian military investigations site Molfar.
At every stage, the children are subjected to “information zombification” while being told they have been abandoned by their parents and bribed with sweets and gadgets – such as Vitaliy was.
It’s a sickening way of enacting Putin’s total cleansing of Ukrainian culture.
Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun told Times Radio people were being taken to “very distant parts of Russia” and “forced to sign papers saying that they will stay in that area for two or three years and they will work for free in those areas”.
Asked if this was slave labour, she said: “It is, yes. It is.”
The horrors brought on Ukrainians by Russia’s onslaught are far reaching, as it was revealed this week that over 80 per cent of Ukrainians have seen loved ones killed in the conflict.
The conflict has had a devastating toll, with 78 per cent of the population of around 30million having a relative or friend killed in the war and 6.3million still classed as refugees.
But Ukraine has shown remarkable resilience — the economy is bouncing back and is on target for a modest rise this year, while support for the war remains undiminished.
conflictobservatoryThe “camps” indoctrinate children to love Russia[/caption]
TelegramRussia Children’s Commissioner Maria visited one of these camps[/caption]
conflictobservatorySome of the facilities which hold the kidnapped children[/caption]
APTeddy bears and children’s toys have been placed to raise awareness of the stolen children[/caption]
The lives of children across Ukraine have been ruined by Putin’s ruthless tactics