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Vladimir Putin is building a child army, officials have claimed.
The Russian president is in the midst of a brutal war with Ukraine, having ordered his military to commence a 'special military operation' in February.
However, his forces have been unable to break the resolute Ukrainian defences around the capital, Kyiv, and in other parts of the country.
As a result, they are now believed to be focusing their efforts on an offensive in the Donbas, which is made up of the separatist-controlled regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
It's also been claimed that Putin is targeting 'patriotic youth clubs' and attempting to conscript 16-year-olds as part of the war effort.
Lyudmyla Denisova, the Ukrainian parliament commissioner on human rights, said these children are being 'mobilised into illegal weapons formations'.
"They have been doing military training and there have been deaths among these teenagers," she said.
"Now they are promoting the entry into the army of civilians, including children in the temporarily occupied territories.
"In doing so the Russian Federation has violated the laws and customs of war provided by the 1949 Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians and the rights of children.
"The recruitment of children is a violation of international law."
In the post to Facebook, Denisova went on: "In the city of Starobílsʹk, the largest in the temporarily occupied territory of the Luhansk region is planned to open 400 places of the Cossack Cadet Corps. The decision was made in late March in Luhansk during an extended meeting on the support and development of the cossack component in the LPR education system.
"In addition, cadet bodies and classes the occupation authorities plan to open in Severodonetsk and Lysyčansk.
"As of the end of 2021, in the temporarily occupied territory of Luhansk region, 62 cadet classes were functioning, in which over 1,200 children studied, and two cadet bodies, in which 417 children were taught."
She appealed to the UN to consider these points as part of its investigation into the military invasion of the Russian Federation in Ukraine.
Also citing figures from the United Register of Pre-Trial Investigations, Denisova said it's believed around 205 children have been killed and 367 children injured since the war began.
Yesterday, 18 April, the first images emerged of the sunken warship the Moskva, an incident that has been the cause of great embarrassment to the Russian military.
The defence ministry confirmed last week that the missile cruiser, which was vital to their military strategy, had sunk off the coast of Odessa, although it denied that it was the result of a Ukrainian Neptune missile attack.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information
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