According to Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of Melitopol in the occupied section of the Zaporizhzhia Region, Russians have sent ca. 200 Ukrainian children “for holidays” to Russia.
The children are purportedly sent to Russia for the duration of the holiday season (New Year’s is a major holiday and a gift-giving time in both Ukraine and Russia, and Orthodox Christmas begins on Jan. 7), but according to Mayor Fedorov, “there’s no telling of how long this [holiday] will last or when will the bring the children back”. Earlier, Fedorov appealed to the parents not to agree to the offer to have their children taken away for the supposed leisure time in enemy territory.
As he wrote on December 21, Russians are planning to send a total of 1,620 Ukrainian children to Russia.
“The enemy customarily conceals [their intentions] with ‘sweet’ propaganda – the children will supposedly be taken to Muscovy [Russia] for New Year holidays,” wrote Melitopol’s mayor.
He pointed out how in September children from the Zaporizhzhia Region were sent to Crimea for “one week”, and yet it took two months for them to be returned to their parents.
Fedorov appealed to the parents and guardians in the occupied territories not to “hand over [their] children to the rashists [Russian fascists]”.
“More than once the enemy has shown that Russia needs the children either for propaganda purposes or as ‘human shields’. Therefore, it is unknown whether the children will return home,” wrote Fedorov.