‘DPR’, ‘LPR’ militants using children to put psychological pressure on captives
Donbas militants not only involve minors in the armed groups, but use them to put psychological pressure on captives. Parents may take children to a checkpoint or a military base, or children may be taken to look at convoying the prisoners to throw a stone or a piece of land at a “castigator.”
Such facts were recorded by the human rights defenders of the Coalition “Justice for Peace in Donbas.”
According to the human rights activists, there is a commonplace practice in the territories controlled by “DPR” and “LPR” when the children, who survived the attacks or lost relatives, are taken to the captives and are said that those people killed their parents. This, on the one hand, worsens the trauma of a child and incites hatred, and, on the other hand, is a strong moral test for a captive.
Two captured Ukrainian soldiers were staying with the seriously wounded people in a hospital in Luhansk. Civilian adults and children came to their room to look at the “murderers.”
“There were local children in the hospital whose legs and arms were injured with splinters. Their mothers were killed. My friend was put in a wheelchair and taken to wards, saying: ‘Look, what you have done.’ Children were taken to our ward and were said: ‘These bastards killed your parents.’ Children nearly made a rush at us. If those kids had knives, they would stab us,” the human rights activists quote the captive as saying.
When convoying, the captives often saw small children in the crowd of people coming to look at them. The testimonies of former captives produce the impression that local people were informed beforehand that the Ukrainian military would be brought so that locals could gather and express their condemnation. They took their children with them to show them “fascists.”
“We were transported to Donetsk in the morning of August 31, 2014. Children were throwing stones at us. There were quite a lot of them. There was one boy with a machine gun,” another captive said.
Some children, whose parents are combatants in the armed groups, are brought up among the weapons and even witness the tortures.
Weapons, attacks, violence, and capture are no more scenes from the movies, but the everyday life for many children in Donbas. One of the Coalition members saw in a street of a town in Donetsk region how the children were playing, shouting such words as “roadblock”, “shelling”, “curfew”, “hide.”
The Coalition “Justice for Peace in Donbas” has been documenting the cases of involving the minors in the illegal armed formations. The human rights activists believe that the criminals in these cases are the leaders, who involve minors in the illegal armed groups and who should be held liable for that. The much evidence is collected, the quicker those persons are prosecuted.