Russian-controlled militants of the Donetsk People`s Republic (DPR) reportedly train children to handle weapons, and use them for intelligence gathering, a Ukrainian delegation at the UN Security Council stated at an open debate on children and armed conflict, which took place on August 2.
”There are also extremely worrying reports regarding the establishment of camps where children are trained to handle weapons, gather intelligence and man checkpoints. For example, last May, at a checkpoint on the outskirts of `DPR` -controlled Makiivka (10 km east of Donetsk), OSCE monitors observed a child, who was 12-14 years old, wearing a camouflage uniform and holding an AK-47 rifle,” a statement read.
The Ukrainian delegation has stressed that the OSCE mission in Ukraine has on several occasions reported that irregular armed formations in [Ukraine`s] east are allegedly preventing young men from leaving Donetsk and are forcefully recruiting them to join their ranks, which could amount to human trafficking.
”There have also been reports from various sources that children as young as 15 are being recruited to armed youth groups and made to take part in active combat as full-fledged members of the combined Russian-backed militant forces, including as youth reconnaissance and sabotage groups operating in government-controlled territory,” according to the statement.