Vladimir Putin is likely carrying out "deliberate ethnic cleansing" after stealing "several thousand" Ukrainian children from their homes, experts say.
Russian authorities have already admitted to offering Ukrainian children in occupied regions up for adoption to Russian families.
On Thursday (October 14) Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin said "several thousand" children from the Kherson Oblast are "already in other regions of Russia, resting in rest homes and children’s camps".
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The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its daily update on the Russia-Ukraine conflict yesterday (Saturday, October 15) that Putin appears to be violating the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
The report stated: "Russia continues to conduct massive, forced deportations of Ukrainians that likely amount to a deliberate ethnic cleansing campaign."
It went on to allege that Putin may be also engaged in a "wider campaign of ethnic cleansing", purposely depopulating Ukrainian territories with the deportations and repopulating them with Russian citizens.
The UN defines ethnic cleansing as: "Rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of given groups from the area.
"A purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas."
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According to the ISW, Russian actions in Ukraine are "consistent" with the UN definitions.
The ISW also noted reports that major reconstruction projects are in the works in the occupied port city of Mariupol, intended to house tens of thousands of imported Russians.
The Moscow Times reported that the projects are planned to last until 2035 and could more than double the city's population by 2030.
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