Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

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A view of the courtyard of Kherson regional children's home in Kherson, southern Ukraine in November 2022.
A view of the courtyard of Kherson regional children’s home in Kherson, southern Ukraine in November 2022. (Bernat Armangue/AP/File)

The Russian government is operating an expansive network of dozens of camps where it has held thousands of Ukrainian children since the start of the war against Ukraine last year, according to a new report released Tuesday. 

The report contains disturbing new details about the extent of Moscow’s efforts to relocate, re-educate, and sometimes militarily train or forcibly adopt out Ukrainian children — actions that constitute war crimes and could provide evidence that Russia’s actions amount to genocide, it says.

The report was produced as a part of the work of the US State Department-backed Conflict Observatory by the Yale Humanitarian Research Lab. The Observatory was established last year to gather evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

“All levels of Russia’s government are involved,” Yale Humanitarian Research Lab’s Nathaniel Raymond told reporters Tuesday.

“Consider this report a gigantic Amber Alert that we are issuing on Ukraine’s children,” he said.

CNN has asked Russia’s embassy in Washington for comment.

The report found that more than 6,000 children — ranging in age from mere months old to 17 — have been in Russian custody at some point during the course of the nearly year-long war, although the “total number of children is not known and is likely significantly higher than 6,000.” 

It identified 43 facilities that are a part of the network, which “stretches from one end of Russia to the other,” including Russian-occupied Crimea, the “eastern Pacific Coast – closer to Alaska than it is to Moscow,” and Siberia, Raymond said. 

“The primary purpose of the camps appears to be political reeducation,” he said, noting that at least 32 of the facilities identified in the report “appear to be engaged in systematic re-education efforts that expose children from Ukraine to Russia-centric academic, cultural, patriotic, and in two cases, specifically military education.”

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