The Russian government is operating a systematic network of at least 40 child custody centers for thousands of Ukrainian children, a potential war crime, according to a new report by Yale University researchers in a collaboration with the U.S. State Department in a program to hold Russia accountable.
Ukrainian officials say Russia has evacuated thousands of Ukrainian children without parental consent. Russian officials do not deny Ukrainian children are now in Russia, but insist the camps are part of a vast humanitarian project for abandoned, war-traumatized orphans and have been surprisingly public with social media messaging aimed at a Russian audience.
Open-source investigators have a trove of potential source material from on-the-ground witnesses who photograph war damage, map mass graves, record interviews with refugees — and post the results online. For the first time, war crimes investigators can gather evidence in real time while those crimes are still occurring.
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