WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning Russia’s abduction of Ukrainian children. International media reports have highlighted how Russia has kidnapped at least 6,000 children from their families in Ukraine, relocating them to reeducation camps in Russia and forcing them to be raised by Russian families. Representatives Don Bacon (R-NE) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) led a resolution in the House of Representatives.

“Russia’s abduction of thousands of Ukrainian children from their families, forcibly relocating them to reeducation camps, and leaving them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation is unconscionable,” said Klobuchar. “This resolution reaffirms our country’s strong bipartisan support for holding Vladimir Putin accountable for this inhuman barbarism. We must continue to stand with the people of Ukraine in the face of Putin’s brutal invasion.” 

“We will not forgive and forget the destruction of Ukrainian families that has occurred at the hands of Vladimir Putin,” said Graham. “One of the most despicable war crimes possible is the kidnapping of children by force of arms and destroying families. America should send an unequivocal message in condemning these barbaric actions. I hope this resolution passes the Senate 100-0. We should speak with one voice about one the greatest outrages of the 21st century. I appreciate Senator Klobuchar for leading this important effort.”

“There are no two ways about this, the Russian Federation is abducting children and trafficking them to other families in Russia,” said Bacon. “We cannot sit by as Vladimir Putin acts like a ruthless dictator and steals children to try and build up Mother Russia. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, and siblings in Ukraine are crying out for their family members and I cannot imagine the devastation they are feeling as they have no idea where the children are.”

“The abductions of Ukrainian children by Russia are illegal and absolutely inhumane,” said Panetta.  “Our bipartisan resolution not only condemns the illicit transfer of these children by the Russian government, it also calls for the return of all Ukrainian children to their home country.  This resolution is another way that the United States Congress is taking a stand against Russia and its illegal forced deportations, and it’s a strong symbol of the enduring support by the United States for the Ukrainian government, families, and children."

Klobuchar has been a strong supporter of Ukraine. She went to Ukraine twice last year and received the Ukrainian Order of Merit, First Class from President Zelenskyy. In August, Klobuchar and former Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) went to Ukraine, where they met with senior Ukrainian leaders, including Zelenskyy and Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, to receive a firsthand account of Russia’s unprovoked and brutal war on Ukraine. The senators also went to Bucha and Irpin, the sites of horrific Russian atrocities earlier this spring, as well as Hostomel Airport, where the Ukrainian people claimed an early and key victory against the Russian army. 

In January 2022, Klobuchar went to Ukraine with a bipartisan group of Senate colleagues to meet with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and reaffirm the U.S.’ strong bipartisan commitment to a sovereign Ukraine. 

Additionally, in March 2022, Klobuchar went to the Polish-Ukrainian border with a bipartisan group of colleagues where they met with Ukrainian refugees, military leaders, American soldiers, and aid workers. 

Klobuchar has also led efforts to stop human trafficking and smuggling. In January, Klobuchar and Senator John Cornyn’s (R-TX) bipartisan Abolish Trafficking Reauthorization Act was signed into law.  The bipartisan legislation strengthens and reauthorizes key programs supporting survivors of human trafficking and provides resources to law enforcement officials working to identify and support victims. 

Full text of the resolution is available HERE and below:

Whereas on February 24, 2022, the Russian Federation invaded the sovereign State of Ukraine in violation of international law;

Whereas Russian troops have since committed horrendous atrocities and human rights violations;

Whereas as of March 2023, research indicates the Russian government has kidnapped and removed at least 6,000 innocent children from their homes in Ukraine, and likely tens of thousands more; 

Whereas U.S. officials have indicated that more than 1,800 children were taken from Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine to Russia in July 2022 alone;

Whereas the Russian government continues to provide false information about these children to parents and international non-governmental organizations and human rights observers, including claiming the children have no parents or family; 

Whereas Russian authorities have loosened adoption laws to allow Russian families to more take custody of kidnapped Ukrainian children; 

Whereas Russian authorities provide additional funds to Russian families housing kidnapped Ukrainian children and force kidnapped Ukrainian children to become Russian citizens;

Whereas this practice is in direct contradiction to any standard of reasonableness and civility;

Whereas this practice is associated with dictators who pose a threat to humanity, world peace, and human rights;

Whereas the International Criminal Court has opened war crimes cases over the abductions and re-education of Ukrainian children and issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin ;

Whereas children everywhere should be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty, and exploitation;

Resolved, That it is the sense of Congress that---

  1. Congress condemns in the strongest possible terms the Russian Federation’s abduction of innocent children from their families in Ukraine and relocation of them to reeducation camps where they are indoctrinated, abused, and exploited;
  2. Congress rebukes every other nation that provides aid and support to the Russian Federation’s kidnapping enterprise;
  3. Congress condemns forced adoption of Ukrainian children by Russian citizens contrary to international intercountry adoption norms and the Hague Convention governing intercountry adoption; and
  4. Congress implores the Russian Federation to work with international human rights and children welfare organizations to ensure the return of Ukrainian children to their home country at the earliest available opportunity.