Russian Federation - March 2023
Forced deportation of children a war crime, UN says
A report by the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine published on 15 March found that the hundreds of illegal transfers of children from occupied Ukraine to Russia constituted a war crime. The report also included evidence of other war crimes, including torture, rape, attacks on healthcare facilities, and summary executions. The International Criminal Court had previously issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Children’s Rights Ombudsman Maria Lvova-Belova on 24 February for the removal of children from Ukraine.
Sources: British Broadcasting Company
Father arrested after daughter’s anti-war drawings
Alexei Moskalyov, a resident of the small provincial town of Yefremov south of Moscow, was sentenced to two years imprisonment for ‘discrediting the armed forces’ on 29 March for a social media post. Moskalyov’s case was the subject of significant domestic and international attention, as he allegedly first came to the attention of local authorities after his 13-year-old daughter Masha made anti-war drawings at school in April 2022. Masha was taken from her father’s custody and placed in an orphanage in December 2022, and later with her mother, from whom she had been estranged for ten years. Moskalyov escaped house arrest but was detained on 30 March in Belarus.
Wall Street Journal reporter arrested on espionage charges
American journalist Evan Gershkovich was arrested in Yekaterinburg and charged with espionage on 29 March, the first time a foreign reporter has been accused of spying in the country since 1986. Domestic and international press freedom and human rights watchdogs argued the charges were groundless, and that Gershkovich had likely been detained for use in a future prisoner swap for Russian spies arrested abroad. Following the arrest, other media outlets began moving non-Russian journalists out of the country for safety concerns, further limiting the diversity and scope of journalism in the country.