According to the Sky News TV channel, Russia is abducting Ukrainian orphans. The channel had investigated reports that the Russian army had kidnapped children from orphanages in Kherson. Upon investigating, the journalists uncovered evidence corroborating these allegations – as well as unbelievable details.
The director of one of the orphanages, Volodymyr Sahaidak, was significantly involved in the research. He had sent “Sky News” the recordings of the surveillance camera of his facility, in which 52 boys and girls normally live. When Russian forces occupied Cherson, Sahaidak decided to evacuate the orphanage. “We saw how the Russian propagandists said that they want to send the orphans to military schools, indoctrinate them and let them fight for Russia,” the head of the facility told Sky News. He wanted to protect his protégés from the fate that had befallen some orphaned children since the occupation of Donbass in 2014 and, with the support of the population, divided them among families in the area.
The surveillance camera videos show that Sahaidak was right in his fears. They show soldiers armed with machine guns entering the orphanage on June 4 this year. Employees of the Russian secret service lead them through the facility in search of the children. But the house is empty. “They confiscated all the children’s files because they couldn’t find out where the children were,” says the Ukrainian. In addition to the files, they also took the computers and the video surveillance system with them in order to find out something about the whereabouts of the children – in vain. Until the end of the Russian occupation, the orphans remained undiscovered in the families, some of which had taken in up to four boys and girls.
The Russian occupiers later brought 15 children into the empty orphanage, whom they had allegedly kidnapped from other Ukrainian cities. As additional surveillance footage available to Sky News shows, staff at the orphanage cared for the children before Russian troops took them away when they retreated from Kherson.
According to Oxana, the orphanage was unable to do anything more for the children. Soldiers put them in military transporters and drove away. Since the Russians were armed with machine guns, “of course the children were scared,” Oxana told Sky News. No one knows where the 15 children were taken.
According to research by the television station, similar events to those in Sahaidak’s facility also happened in another orphanage in Cherson. From there, Russian soldiers kidnapped 48 significantly younger children aged three to five years. “When the children were taken out, Russian armored personnel carriers and soldiers were nearby, so nobody could film,” Natalya Kadyrova, a local resident who witnessed the incident, told Sky News.
The sight of the kidnapped children still haunts her. “Of course I’m worried about them, they’re little kids,” she says. What happened to the children and where they are now is unclear. According to their own statements, the Ukrainian public prosecutor’s office has now initiated criminal prosecution and asked the Ukrainian secret service for support. According to the Ukrainian government, Russia has deported or abducted 13,000 children since the start of the Ukraine war.