A chilling surveillance video has emerged as Russian soldiers raid a Ukrainian orphanage in search of children to kidnap.
The footage was obtained as part of an investigation into claims that Russian soldiers and members of the Federal Security Forces (FSB) – the successor to the KGB – took children from two orphanages outside the city of Kherson, despite efforts by local residents to protect the orphans.
Volodymyr Sahaidak, director of an orphanage in the village of Stepanivka outside Kherson, told skynews that when Russian forces invaded the region, he and his staff continued to hide the children so they wouldn’t be kidnapped.
“We saw Russian propagandists saying they should take the orphans and send them to military schools, indoctrinate them and let them fight for Russia,” he said, adding, “It was the scariest thing, so we started hiding the children because we knew they would take them.”
By the time Russian troops and FSB agents arrived at the facility, as shown in published security camera footage, the 52 orphans had been secretly sent to several families, who took in three to four children, despite the risk to was arrested or killed.
Video from the orphanage shows armed men in fatigues walking through the building. Sahaidka said the army seized all the children’s files and took the computers to find out where they had gone.
Although the Russians never found the children, they brought 15 other children from other parts of Ukraine to the orphanage.
Sahaidak said that when the Moscow forces withdrew from Kherson, they took the children from the orphanage with them.
A similar scene unfolded at another orphanage in Kherson, where neighbor Natalya Kadyrova described the moment Russian soldiers arrived to remove a group of children aged three to five. “When the children were taken out, armored vehicles and Russian forces were making sure no one was filming,” she said.
Ukrainian prosecutors said enemy forces abducted 48 orphans while the cases are currently being investigated.
According to Ukrainian officials, Russian soldiers have abducted at least 13,000 Ukrainian children since the war began in February.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly accused Russia of deporting some 1.6 million people.