Chilling surveillance video has emerged showing what appears to be Russian forces scouring a Ukrainian orphanage in search of children to abduct.
The footage was obtained as part of an investigation into allegations that Russian soldiers and members of the Federal Security Forces (FSB) — the successor to the KGB –removed children from two orphanages outside the city of Kherson, despite efforts by local residents to shield the orphans, Sky News reported.
Volodymyr Sahaidak, director of an orphanage in the village of Stepanivka outside Kherson, told Sky News that when Russian forces occupied the region, he and his staff proceeded to hide the children in their care so they would not be taken away.
“We saw Russian propagandists saying that they need to take the orphans to give them to military schools, indoctrinate them and let them fight for Russia,” he said. “It was the scariest thing so we started hiding children because we understood they would take them.”
By the time Russian troops and FSB agents arrived at the facility, as shown in the newly released CCTV footage, the 52 orphans had been secretly placed with local families. Some households took in three to four children, despite the risk of being arrested or killed.
Video from the orphanage shows armed men in fatigues walking through the building. Sahaidka said that the intruders seized all the children’s files and took away computers to learn where they had gone.
Although the Russians never found the children, they brought 15 other children taken from elsewhere in Ukraine to the orphanage.
Sahaidak said when Moscow’s forces retreated from Kherson, they took the 15 children from the orphanage with them.
“They were put in these military vehicles and taken away, soldiers with machine guns, so of course the children were scared and didn’t know where they were being taken,” recalled orphanage employee Oxana.
A similar scene played out at another orphanage in central Kherson, where neighbor Natalya Kadyrova described the moment Russian soldiers arrived to remove a group of children between ages three and five.
“When the children were being taken out, Russian armored personnel vehicles were standing around the perimeter and soldiers so that no one would film,” she said.
Ukrainian prosecutors said enemy forces abducted 48 young orphans from that came from the home. The case is currently being investigated.
According to Ukrainian officials, Russian soldiers have adducted at least 13,000 Ukrainian children since the start of the conflict in February, including 97 orphans from the Kherson region.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly accused Russia of deporting an estimated 1.6 million people in violation of international law — a claim Moscow denied.