LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) – The British government said on Monday it had introduced new sanctions, including against Russian Education Minister Sergey Kravtsov, over what it described as Moscow’s forced deportation of Ukrainian children.
Britain imposed 13 new sanctions designations in response to “Russia’s attempts to destroy the Ukrainian national identity”, some of which it said were linked to the forced relocation of children. They will be subject to asset freezes and travel bans.
“In his chilling program of forced deportation of children and the hateful propaganda launched by his lackeys, we see (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s real intent: to wipe Ukraine off the map,” said British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, in a statement.
“Today’s sanctions hold to account those who support the Putin regime, including those who would see Ukraine destroyed, their national identity dissolved and their future erased.”
Russia’s embassy in Britain called the new sanctions “categorically unacceptable and legally void” and said in a statement that the people sanctioned included those who had been involved in rescuing children.
A package of EU sanctions last month they included those the bloc said were responsible for “the forced transfers and deportation of Ukrainian children and persons responsible for the looting of Ukraine’s cultural heritage.”
In June 2022, Britain also sanctioned Russia. Commissioner for the Rights of the Child Maria Lvova-Belova for the forced removal and adoption of Ukrainian children.
Britain says many of the children have been sent to re-education camps, where they are “exposed to a Russia-focused academic, cultural, patriotic and military education”.
Earlier this month Russia said it has taken some 700,000 children from Ukraine’s conflict zones to Russian territory for their own protection.
Ukraine has managed to return some of them, but says many consider themselves deported illegally, without the permission of their parents or the Ukrainian authorities.
In June, Ukrainian prosecutors loaded a Russian politician and two alleged Ukrainian collaborators charged with war crimes for the alleged deportation of dozens of orphans from the previously occupied southern city of Kherson.
Russian culture minister Olga Lyubimova was also sanctioned on Monday “for using her position to support the harmful anti-Ukrainian policies of the Russian state,” Britain said.
Cleverly will chair a session on Ukraine at the UN Security Council in New York later Monday, highlighting the deportation of Ukrainian children, his office said.
(This story has been officially corrected to change the number of penalties from 14 to 13 in paragraph 2 and remove the line about Anton Krasovsky in paragraph 12)
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; additional reporting by Caleb Davis; edited by William James and Philippa Fletcher
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