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Frontline documents Russia's kidnapping of children of Ukraine

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Still from an orphanage in Kherson, Ukraine. (Ivan Fomichenko/FRONTLINE)
Still from an orphanage in Kherson, Ukraine. (Ivan Fomichenko/FRONTLINE)

Since the start of Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, thousands of Ukrainian children have been taken and held in Russian-controlled territory. “Children of Ukraine,” a new Frontline documentary, tells the story of Ukrainian teenagers who escaped, and of Ukrainian families and investigators trying to track down missing children and collect evidence of alleged abductions.

“Children of Ukraine” explores how, last year, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin for the alleged war crime of unlawful deportation of children from occupied areas of Ukraine. The Kremlin dismissed the charges as “outrageous,” and Russia has said it’s been relocating Ukrainian children to ensure their safety and to provide medical care and education.

Directed and produced by BAFTA-award winning journalist Paul Kenyon, Children of Ukraine follows investigators with the International Partnership for Human Rights as they travel through Ukraine and collect accounts that tell a different story — including multiple cases in which Ukrainian teenagers held in Russian-controlled territory say they were mistreated and subjected to Russian propaganda.

More than 19,000 children are still being held illegally by Russia, according to Ukrainian authorities.


Paul Kenyon is a journalist and author. He is the director and producer of the new FRONTLINE documentary “Children of Ukraine.”

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*This interview will be recorded on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi