Ukraine-Russia War: Russia uses Ukrainian children as human shields - GUR

The children have allegedly been used as hostages to make sure civilians don't report on Russian troop movements or as shields to protect equipment.

 Child's overalls, shoes and boots are placed beside candles during a demonstration organised by the Ukrainian Association in Finland to honour the memory of the children killed amid the Russian invasion in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, in Helsinki, Finland, April 10, 2022. (photo credit: Lehtikuva/Jussi Nukari via REUTERS)
Child's overalls, shoes and boots are placed beside candles during a demonstration organised by the Ukrainian Association in Finland to honour the memory of the children killed amid the Russian invasion in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, in Helsinki, Finland, April 10, 2022.
(photo credit: Lehtikuva/Jussi Nukari via REUTERS)

Russia may be using Ukrainian children as human shields when moving military equipment during their ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Intelligence Directorate (GUR) claimed in early April.

There have been numerous reports of this occurring, either as hostages to make sure civilians don't share Russian troop movements to the Ukrainian army or to ensure that Ukrainian forces don't fire on Russian equipment columns. 

Incidents of this occurring have been reported throughout the country, though the GUR specifies cases in the Sumy, Chernihiv, Zaporizhzhia and Kyiv oblasts.

But there have been many other reports as well.

In early March, the Russian Black Sea Fleet was accused by the Ukrainian military of using civilian vessels as human shields. 

 Permanent group of the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean Sea, 2016 (credit: Russian Ministry of Defence/Wikimedia Commons) Permanent group of the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean Sea, 2016 (credit: Russian Ministry of Defence/Wikimedia Commons)

On other occasions, reports emerged that Russian forces would set up military equipment in civilian areas, using their homes as de facto human shields.

Also in March, Ukraine and Russia accused each other of using human shields.

At the time, Russia claimed Ukraine was using foreigners and civilians as human shields by allegedly preventing them from evacuating.

Ukraine further accused Russia of using civilians as human shields by using evacuating civilians to stop Ukrainians from shooting and by setting up their troops and equipment in residential areas.

The alleged use of human shields is one of the many war crimes Ukraine has accused Russia of committing throughout the ongoing war.

Claims of alleged war crimes against Ukraine can be submitted to a special website set up by the Ukrainian government in March.

The deaths of children in Ukraine during the war is something that has been widely reported on by Ukraine and independent sources, such as the United Nations.

As of Monday, 205 children have been killed and 362 injured since the invasion began, Interfax reported, citing the Prosecutor General's Office.

Michael Starr and Reuters contributed to this report.