Russia’s Mass Rape Genocide – The Washington Post ( News Washington )

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We can rescue the mass graves that were left in Ukraine by fleeing Russian forces. We can talk about the remnants of the kidnappings and bombings of Ukraine, the mothers of fallen soldiers, and the millions who live in constant fear of Russian bombings and terror. But we cannot contact the Ukrainian women and children whom the invaders have abducted far away and brought into the interior of Russia. The victims of war are invisible – so even behind the clothes, whenever it comes, it will remain.

This summer, the Russians forcibly deported between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainians — mostly women — from Ukraine’s borders, including some 260,000 children. The numbers then grew. During the same days of the Russian retreat from Kherson, for example, the attackers moved perhaps another 60,000 Ukrainians in less than a week. With their bloody Orwellian euphemism, the Russians boast that millions of Ukrainians have been “accepted” or “assumed” in Russia.

Why women and children in particular? So that women will give birth to “Russian” rather than “Ukrainian” children in the future, and the children will forget that they are always Ukrainian and instead become Russian. Rhythms with one reason President Vladimir Putin gave everything during his invasion. In the telling, Ukraine is not a country at all, just like a region of Russia suffering from a “false sense of consciousness” that it is a nation. He agrees that Putin must destroy Ukraine as a culture, politics and people. One way to do it is to get the Ukrainians out and the Russians in.

If it sounds like an attempt at ethnic cleansing. The common meaning of the term genocide (from the Greek “to kill a tribe” means to kill all of a race or nation. The legal definition of “genocide” is broader than that stipulated by the League of Nations in 1948 in the Holocaust on the Mind of All. It includes killing members of a tribe, race, nation, or group.But it is also intended to be carried out by causing mental or physical harm [the group’s] destruction in whole or in part. “Russia’s systematic bombing of Ukraine’s electricity and other infrastructure fits that description.”

Not least, the legal definition of genocide also includes “measures designed to prevent births within a group”, and specifically “forcibly transferring the children of a group to another group”. In this sense, everything Putin has done this year suggests that he is actually trying to commit genocide.

Putin is only the latest perpetrator in a long and tragic history of mass deportations and ethnic cleansing. It is also a story that Moscow, under the Tsars and especially the Soviets, wrote more than its fair share of chapters. And in this anthology, Ukrainians take their thick roll for victims.

At various points in the 20th century, the Kremlin purged parts of Ukraine and the country of Cossacks, Kulaks, Tatars and other groups, usually dumping the victims in Siberia or central Asia. At the time, Moscow couched its policies in terms of class rather than ethnicity. But it is far different. The traumas of these deportations—like the deliberate Joseph Stalin famine in Ukraine, now known as the Holodomor—are a common part of Ukrainian memory.

For each victim, as now, it is a process of sheer, inhumane terror. The Russians herd Ukrainian women and children into “infiltration” camps. Parents, spouses, sons and daughters are separated; cell phones and documents made public, their fingerprints searched and their identities taken away, their fates shrouded in a dark shroud of fog. Some are abused. Others are just sent into an unknown hell.

By Putin’s cold arithmetic, the spouses of millions of Ukrainian women and children can be taken from their homeland by deportation to the millions of refugees—including disproportionately women and young people—who have fled to the European Union and elsewhere. According to estimates, about 20% of Ukrainians, and almost double the proportion of women of childbearing age, are physically outside the country.

Their absence not only complicates any future attempt to rebuild Ukraine and make it successful. It even rips the camera from the chest of the Ukrainian national.

If and when the warring parties tire and enter into negotiations, the list of fixed points will be long. It starts with the state of Crimea and other regions of Ukraine that Putin pretends to have “annexed”. It continues with Ukraine’s relations with the European Union and NATO, guarantees security from outside powers and many other things.

But Russian women and children must have been right at the top of that list. The Kremlin, whoever is in power at that point, must confess to the war crimes Russia has committed and allow the Ukrainians to return to their homes, so that – they are scarred – they can pick up whatever life is left of them.

In this demand, the West and the whole world should support Ukraine. And Kyiv, if necessary, should value the people above the ground, the visible places of the nation to purchase the now invisible mothers, sons and daughters. No ceasefire deserves the title of victory without its return.

More from Bloomberg Opinion:

Believe it or not, Putin’s enemies are now Nazi Satanists: Andreas Kluth

Vladimir Putin’s Guide to Alienating Allies: Clara Ferreira Marques

How the Russian-Ukrainian War Can and Can’t End: Leonid Bershidsky

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Andreas Kluth is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering European politics. A former editor-in-chief of the Global Handelsblatt and a writer for the Economist, he is the author of “Hannibal and Me”.

More stories like this are available at flowerberg.com/opinion

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