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As Russian troops pushed into Ukraine, children who were fleeing newly occupied territories were swept up. Many became part of a Russian effort to portray itself as a charitable savior.

The children were placed in Russian families and paraded on television. The Times interviewed one child who was taken from Ukraine, a girl named Anya, who said she ached to return.


Emma Bubola, a reporter for The New York Times based in London.

The tall towers of an apartment block in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, with the windows blown out. In the foreground is a playground.
An apartment block in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, from which Anya was taken by Russian forces.Carl Court/Getty Images

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Emma Bubola contributed reporting.

Special thanks to Nastya Kuznietsova, researcher and translator, and Alina Lobzina, who contributed reporting from the Moscow bureau.

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