A 32-year-old Russian soldier whose division has been implicated by Reuters in the murder of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha in March 2022 has adopted a seven-year-old child from the Russian-occupied Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, independent Russian broadcaster Dozhd reported Friday.
Viktor Filonov and his wife Maria, who live in the city of Pskov in northwestern Russia, adopted a seven-year-old boy named Oleg who reportedly suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder in December.
“My husband fought in the special military operation. He knows all too well what shelling is,” Maria Filonova told Dozhd, adding: “So we’re even happier that our boy is from there.”
Filonov has served in the 76th Guards Air Assault Division since 2012. The website of the Peacekeeper project, an NGO recording war crimes carried out in Ukraine, says that Filonov “took part in the murder and terrorised civilians in Bucha, Borodyanka and other cities and villages in Ukraine between February and March 2022”.
According to official Ukrainian statistics from 31 July, 19,546 Ukrainian children have been illegally transported to Russia since the beginning of the war.
To date, just 517 abducted children have been returned to Ukraine, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets told a forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this month.