The US embassy in Kyiv has accused the Kremlin of “illegally removing” more than 2,000 Ukrainian children from the Russian-controlled territories of Luhansk and Donetsk and taking them forcibly to Russia. 

“This is not assistance. It is kidnapping,” it declared. Ukraine’s foreign ministry and Iryna Venediktova, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, gave an even higher figure of 2,389 children being taken. 

This isn’t the first time this week that the Kremlin has faced accusations of kidnapping. According to Inna Sovsun, a Ukrainian MP, Russian troops are forcing civilians from Mariupol to relocate to “distant parts of Russia” to work in conditions akin to slave labour.