UK Sanctions Russian Officials Involved in the Forced Deportation of Ukrainian Children

The United Kingdom sanctioned a number of Russian officials believed to be involved in the kidnapping of Ukrainian children as part of Moscow's efforts to erode Ukrainian national identity.

Ukraine Children RefugeesRussian officials are accused of forcefully deporting over 19,000 Ukrainian children to Russia or to regions of Ukraine now held by Russians. (Photo: President of Ukraine, Wikimedia, License)According to a U.K. government statement issued on Monday, Russian authorities have forcibly deported over 19,000 Ukrainian children to Russia or temporarily Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly stated that officials involved in this project, as well as in the propagation of hate-inciting propaganda, will have any assets they might have in the U.K. frozen and will not be allowed to enter the country.

Among the designated officials are Russian Minister of Education, Sergey Kravtsov, and Commissioner for Children's Rights in the Moscow Region, Ksenia Mishonova.

The list also includes propagandists responsible for spreading abhorrent propaganda designed to incite violence and hatred towards Ukraine and its people, such as Anton Krasovsky, a former Russia Today (RT) host who said live on air that "Ukrainian children who hate Russia should be drowned and burned."

Russian Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova has also been sanctioned for exploiting her position to assist the Russian state's harmful anti-Ukrainian policies.

"These individuals have played an insidious role in Russia's calculated program of deportation, designed to erase Ukrainian cultural and national identity," read the statement.

Less than a month ago, the U.K. administration sanctioned Russian Children's Rights Commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, one of the alleged masterminds of the forced transfer and adoption of Ukrainian children.

Earlier this year, in March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, charging them with direct responsibility for the large-scale unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children to Russian-controlled territory, which constitutes a war crime under international law.

The case was unveiled early this year when the Yale School of Public Health's Humanitarian Research Lab (HRL) warned in its report that Russia has "systematically relocated" children from Ukraine to several re-educating and adoption facilities in occupied Crimea and mainland Russia.

"In his chilling program of forced child deportation and the hate-filled propaganda spewed by his lackeys, we see Putin's true intention – to wipe Ukraine from the map," said Foreign Secretary Cleverly.

He added that the latest sanctions "hold those who prop up Putin's regime to account, including those who would see Ukraine destroyed, its national identity dissolved, and its future erased."

The newest British sanctions coincide with Cleverly's address to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, during which he will "highlight the far-reaching implications of Russia's war, call on Russia to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative, and outline the need for a just, lasting peace in Ukraine."

During its month-long leadership of the UN Security Council in July, the U.K. indicated it will prioritize support for Ukraine and its pursuit of peace.

The U.K. government has also reminded that, in collaboration with its international allies, it has so far undertaken the most punitive package of sanctions ever placed on a major economy, such as Russia.

"Over 1,600 individuals and entities have been sanctioned since the start of the invasion [unleashed on February 24, 2022], including 29 banks with global assets worth 1 trillion British pounds (US$1.3 trillion), over 130 oligarchs with a combined net worth of over 145 billion British pounds ($189.7 billion), and over 20 billion pounds ($26.16 billion) worth of UK-Russia trade," read the statement.