On August 24, the U.S. State Department imposed financial sanctions and visa restrictions on Aymani Kadyrova and 12 other individuals and entities for involvement in the "forced transfer and deportation of children during Russia’s Illegal war against Ukraine."
Kadyrova is the mother of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and the widow of Akhmad Kadyrov, the former Chechen leader who was assassinated in 2004. Kadyrova heads the Akhmad Kadyrov Foundation, which is also among the 13 new sanctions targets.
" … The United States decided to impose sanctions against... Aymani Nesievna (Kadyrova). Of course, we have long known that the mental health of America's politicians is a big question mark. However, this yet another senseless and stupid trick makes us already a little ‘worried’, but are they all at home? What kind of threat can a woman who has been doing charity work all her life, helping hundreds of thousands of people around the world, pose to the United States?”
That claim is false.
According to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the "forced transfer and deportation of children" constitutes a war crime.
In May, the Ukrainian on-line newspaper Ukrainska Pravda reported:
“The foundation of Ramzan Kadyrov's mother, Aymani Nesievna Kadyrova, regularly reports on assistance to Ukrainian children. With the help of Kadyrov and Lvova-Belova, a camp for the ‘re-education of children from the new territories of the Russian Federation’ was created near Grozny. Those who actively oppose Russification attempts are sent there.”
In a February report titled “Russia’s Systematic Program for the Re-Education & Adoption of Ukraine’s Children,” the Conflict Observatory, an American non-governmental organization funded by the U.S. State Department, said that more than 6,000 Ukrainian children “ages four months to 17 years” were taken to 43 camps “within Russia-occupied Crimea and mainland Russia.”
The report stated that one of these camps is located in Chechnya, near its capital Grozny, where “military training was part of the program.”
In December 2022, the Voice of America-affiliated Russian-language network Current Time detailed activities of such camps in Chechnya:
“Chechnya has become the main Russian center for ‘military-patriotic’ children's camps. There, teenagers are told about the exploits of the Russian military in the war in Ukraine and are taught to hold weapons in their hands. In November, the ‘Gorny Klyuch’ recreation center in the Shali region held a patriotic session … About two hundred teenagers were brought there not only from Russia but also Ukrainian children illegally taken from the occupied territories.
The patriotic camp ‘Forces of the Caucasus’, organized in Chechnya, is a joint project of Ramzan Kadyrov and children's ombudsman Maria Lvova-Belova. Its participants were about 150 teenagers from Russia: Penza, Novosibirsk region, Komi Republic, Dagestan. As well as 45 children from the so-called ‘LDNR’ [in occupied Ukraine].”
This past March, the ICC issued arrest warrants against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights Maria Lvova-Belova for the "war crime of unlawful deportation of population [children] and that of unlawful transfer of population [children] from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation."
Article II of the 1948 Genocide Convention states that forcibly transferring children of one group to another group "with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group," constitutes genocide.
According to the Ukrainian authorities, from February 24, 2022, to August 28, 2023, 19,545 children were deported from Ukraine to Russia.
In a report titled “The Kremlin's war against Ukrainian children” published on August 25, the U.S. State Department’s Global Engagement Center said that the Russian government “illegally resettled to the occupied territory of Ukraine or deported to Russia hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians, including children, as part of Russian filtration operations and other efforts."
In June, Current Time reported that the Russian authorities used about 100 orphanages and boarding schools for displaced Ukrainian children, and that some of those children were sent to camps for "re-education."
Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Sergiy Kyslytsya, told the U.N. Security Council on August 24 that those in charge of such camps in Russia are trying to force illegally displaced Ukrainian children to become Russians:
“Our children are exposed to aggressive brainwashing aimed at changing their consciousness, erasing their Ukrainian identity, and preparing obedient soldiers for the Russian army in the future.”