Propaganda about Ukrainian children deported to Russia echoed from De Graaff, member of European Parliament

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Contrary to statements in his speech, Ukrainian children were deported to Russia and the UN Committee accused Russia of abusing the rights of Ukrainian children. Since the beginning of the military invasion, Russian authorities have deliberately removed children from Ukraine to turn them against their motherland, as reported by the New York Times. Additionally, two propaganda pillars are added to this that aim to justify the Russian aggression with lies that Ukraine is a supplier of children and that their upbringing in Ukraine is poor. All these disinformation and propaganda narratives have already been spread many times by Russia through its politicians


We are fact-checking a post on the social media Facebook sharing a video recording of a Member of the European Parliament, Marcel de Graaff, who is recognized as a purveyor of Russian propaganda falsehoods. In the video-clipping he claims that ”the reports asserting that Ukrainian children are deported in Russia are not true; instead, Russia is saving the immigrants from Ukraine, bombed by the Ukrainian Army”. From the pulpit, De Graaff also stated the following:

Ukraine is the biggest supplier of children for pedophile networks, and human and organ trafficking, and it has mothers especially trained for this purpose. 

At the end, he says that: 

In Russia, the upbringing and education of children are traditional, while in the West they receive trans-gender indoctrination, hormone blockers, and mutilation of sexual organs. 

Contrary to his address, Ukrainian children are deported to Russia and the UN Committee is accusing Russia of abusing the rights of Ukrainian children. 

Since the beginning of the military invasion, Russian authorities have deliberately removed children from Ukraine to turn them against their motherland Ukraine, reported the New York Times. 

In its emotional story, the New York Times interviewed exactly some of the children who were forcibly separated from their mothers once captured by the Russian Army. Another article reveals that some of the mothers with great difficulties managed to retrieve their children because they went to get them. The American Embassy in Georgia explains this phenomenon of enforced displacement of children and separation from their families in Ukraine by taking them into Russia in the following manner: 

Russia’s “re-education” camps hold thousands of Ukraine’s children. Russia has separated thousands of Ukrainian children from their families or caretakers and held them in camps and facilities where they are exposed to a Russia-centric curriculum. Many children are still missing. More than 6 thousand Ukrainian children between the ages of 4 months to 17 years have been taken to facilities designed to mold them into “Russian citizens” following the February 2022 full-scale invasion, said Yale’s Humanitarian Research Lab. The camps are spread widely from Russia-occupied Crimea in Ukraine to Russia’s Far East. Many children are eventually returned to their parents, but others have been held for months at these camps, according to the website of the US Embassy. 

Ukrainian authorities assessed that more than 14 thousand children were sent to Russia, but the actual number could be much higher. 

Researchers used satellite imagery and public information such as social media posts to identify the camps with the presence of Ukrainian children. According to the report of the US Embassy in Georgia, Russia operates a vast network of at least 43 known facilities, Ukrainian children were placed with foster families in Russia, some were adopted, given Russian nationality and passports, and denied their Ukrainian citizenship. 

With its courageous journalism, Vice managed to record these camps: 

Some children are forced into pro-Russia re-education programs. Some are given military training, and dozens of top officials of Russia’s government are involved in the planning of removals, camp operations, and ways to prevent the return of children to Ukraine, specifies the report.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the report “details Russia’s vast program to take Ukraine’s children from their families, relocate them across borders, and “re-educate” them to be pro-Russia. 

These actions must stop, he said. 

The report states that 32 camps were called “integration programs” which indoctrinated Ukrainian children in Russian history and propaganda, as well as language and culture. 

De Graaff’s statements, which are part of the post we are fact-checking, shocked some of his colleagues who requested an investigation to see why de Graaff was spreading lies and pro-Russia propaganda in his addresses. He publicly declared his hopes that Ukraine would lose. Blatant manipulation and spin were the statements made about Ukraine bombing its children, while Russia was saving them. The military invasion was initiated by Russia, completely unprovoked, hence the aggressor is Russia, while Ukraine is defending itself. 

De Graaff’s propaganda that ”Ukraine was the biggest supplier of children for pedophile networks, human and organ trafficking, and the existence of mothers especially trained for that purpose” is old. 

As reported by the fact-checkers of US Today, experts do not place Ukraine at the top of the worst countries for human trafficking. According to the fact-check, the most recent report from 2021, places Ukraine in Tier 2, along with countries such as Denmark, Germany, and Japan. In addition, the Russian invasion can only serve to make trafficking worse in this region, deems the report of UNICEF. Human traffickers are known to benefit from chaos and migration, and UNICEF is also emphasizing the significant number of unaccompanied children fleeing from Ukraine. 

Additionally, as previously covered by Truthmeter, Ukraine is one of the best-regulated countries when it comes to surrogacy laws. 

The official site of the clinic BioTex has an application form where women can voluntarily check whether they fulfill the conditions to become surrogate mothers. It is not something that they are forced into. On the contrary, apart from the fact that the decision was made by free will, other requirements need to be fulfilled as well. Therefore, it cannot be an illegal activity, nor some kind of child trafficking, because the children are given to families in matrimony, from other countries who have good living conditions but cannot have their offspring. This, however, is not related to the Russian military invasion of Ukraine that made life for the Ukrainians much worse.  

Truthmeter fact-checked other previous untruths, including the propaganda about the ”missing children from Ukraine used for organ trafficking”. In such manners Russian propaganda, through its exhibits, is trying to justify its aggression and the devastating ramifications left for both children and adults in Ukraine. 

The third pillar of De Graaff’s propaganda address is related to, allegedly, ”children in Russia acquiring traditional upbringing and education, while the West provides trans-gender indoctrination, hormone blockers and mutilation of sexual organs”. This kind of propaganda is quite recognizable and we have already covered that. 

This stance is grounded on false beliefs that Russia favors marriage, family, and traditional values, while the West stands for, allegedly, destroying families and family values, and favors their trans-gender outlook, which is a lie. 

Russia wants to present and impose itself as the main global defender of the traditional and religious which was apparent in Putin’s address delivered two days before the anniversary of the Russian aggression, thereby reiterating that this ”war was to protect our children from degradation and degeneration”. Truthmeter has already covered the main disinformation narratives in his address to Russian and global audiences. 

Value-based disinformation narratives usually focus on endangered concepts such as “tradition”, “decency”, and “common sense” – terms with positive connotations, but rarely clearly defined. Unlike the Western concept of values that favor individual rights of personal integrity, security, and freedom of speech, the Russian value system incorporates a group of collective norms, expecting every individual to comply with them. 

Also, the State Department, in its analysis of Russia’s ”Top Five Persistent Disinformation Narratives”, specifies that Russia pushes the false claim that ”Western civilization is collapsing and has strayed from “traditional values” because it works to ensure the safety and equality of LGBTQI+ people and promotes concepts such as female equality and multiculturalism”. 

The demise of Western civilization is one of Russia’s oldest disinformation tropes, with claims of “decaying West” documented since the 19th century. This “values”- based disinformation narrative evokes ill-defined concepts including “tradition”, “family values” and “spirituality”. Russia argues it is the bastion of so-called “traditional values” and gender roles and serves as a moral counterweight to the “decadence” of the United States and Western countries. For example, President Putin has claimed the West has practically canceled the concepts of “mother” and “father”, and instead has replaced them with “parent 1 and 2”, while Foreign Minister Lavrov wrote that Western students learn at school that Jesus Christ was bisexual”, reported the State Department. 

The narrative about the “endangered values” is usually used to deny Western positions on the rights of women, ethnic and religious minorities, and LGBTQI+ groups. Pro-Kremlin experts frequently ridicule the alleged Western “moral decay” or “debaucherous attitude”, while separating Russia and Orthodox Christianity as the real defenders of traditional values. 

Due to all of the above-noted facts, the post we are fact-checking is assessed as untrue.