Artem, a Ukrainian teenage boy, was deported to the temporarily occupied territories by Russia
Russian forces forcibly deported sixteen-year-old Artem to the temporarily occupied Luhansk region. He was placed in a boarding school where the staff humiliated and threatened the boy.
The story of Artem was told by the “Save Ukraine” public organization.
On February 24, 2022, Russian troops occupied Kupiansk in the Kharkiv region, a city where Artem was studying at the time. The teenager chose not to attend school as he refused to partake in the Russian educational program. Only months later, on September 7, Artem went back to his school to retrieve his education documents.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces had already launched a counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region. In preparation for the retreat, Russian occupational forces blocked the movement of all transport near Kupiansk. Artem was unaware of this news, so he decided to spend the night at the school and go home the next day.
However, Russian soldiers entered an educational institution with weapons in the morning. Under the guise of evacuation, young Ukrainians, including Artem, were forcibly transported in KAMAZ trucks in an unknown direction
Ukrainian children were deported to Svatove, then to Starobilsk, and later to Perevalsk, a city in the temporarily occupied Luhansk region. Eventually, they were settled in a boarding school. Disregarding all legal norms, children were forced to unload humanitarian aid and clean the territory.
The boarding school staff humiliated the abducted children and exerted psychological pressure on them. For example, told they will be placed in foster families if their parents did not take them back soon. Artem was even threatened that he would be sent to a psychiatric hospital for misbehavior.
Fortunately, Artem’s mother, Nataliia, did not delay. She managed to get in touch with the “Save Ukraine” public organization, which helped her bring her son back to Ukraine. As of April 7, 2023, Artem returned home to his mother.