A girl is carried by a man as she waves a Ukrainian flag in the recently recaptured city of Kherson on November 14, 2022. - The takeover by Ukrainian troops of the Kherson region is the latest in a string of setbacks for Russia, which invaded Ukraine on February 24 hoping for a lightning takeover and to topple the government in days. OLEKSANDR GIMANOV/AFP via Getty Images

UN investigators said Thursday that deportation and forced transfer of Ukrainian children to areas under Russia's control is no less than a war crime.

The high-level team of investigators said while presenting their first report that they had determined that Russian authorities had committed "a wide range of war crimes" since the Ukraine invasion in February 2022.

According to The Moscow Times, they also warned of possible crimes against humanity in Ukraine. But so far they had "not found that there has been a genocide within Ukraine," said Erik Mose, chairman of the Commission of Inquiry.

He was asked about specific accusations of genocide, including the deportation of Ukrainian kids to Russia-controlled areas. Mose replied by saying that they are absolutely aware of these possibilities, and they "will pursue this" if the commission's mandate is prolonged.

According to Yahoo!, the commission was created in 2022. The Human Rights Council will decide in April whether to extend its one-year mandate.

The UN investigators' report did conclude that the forced transfer of Ukrainian kids "violate international humanitarian law, and amount to a war crime."

As of last month, 16,221 Ukrainian children had been taken to Russia, according to Kyiv.

The Times of Israel reported that the investigators said that they could not verify the figures. But they had noted that Russian officials had taken steps to place deported Ukrainian children in foster homes and institutions, and to give them Russian citizenship.

The investigators had also reviewed in detail incidents regarding the transfer of 164 children from the Ukrainian regions of Kharkiv, Donetsk and Kherson. They are aged between four and 18.

They said that parents and kids had spoken of youngsters being informed by Russian social services that they would be taken to foster families or get adopted. They shared that children "expressed a profound fear of being permanently separated" from their families.

Numerous other Russian violations in Ukraine were also highlighted in the report that it said amounted to war crimes. It included widespread attacks on civilians and infrastructure, torture, killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence.

It also mentioned that Russia could be responsible for the even more serious "crimes against humanity." It was pointing to the wave of Russian attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure that started in October 2022.

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