Missing Ukrainian Child Traced to Putin Ally

Investigation uncovers adoption of Ukrainian child by political ally of Vladimir Putin

A recent investigation by BBC’s Panorama has revealed that a key political ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin has adopted a child who was seized from a Ukrainian children’s home. Sergey Mironov, the leader of a Russian political party, is named on the adoption record of a two-year-old girl who was taken from the home in 2022. The child’s identity was changed in Russia, raising questions about the legality of the adoption. This shocking revelation comes amidst ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia, with thousands of Ukrainian children reportedly being taken by Russian forces since the start of the invasion. The investigation sheds light on the plight of these missing children and raises concerns about the treatment of Ukrainian civilians during the conflict.

The Disappearance of Margarita

Margarita, originally named Margarita, was just 10 months old when she was taken from the Kherson Regional Children’s Home during the Russian occupation of the city. Her mother had given up custody shortly after her birth, and her father’s whereabouts were unknown. The investigation uncovered that a woman claiming to be “the head of children’s affairs from Moscow” visited Margarita while she was being treated for bronchitis at a local hospital. The woman, later identified as Inna Varlamova, then arranged for Margarita to be sent back to the children’s home. However, within a week, Russian men arrived at the home and took Margarita, along with other children, away in buses and ambulances. The investigation reveals that Margarita’s adoption was orchestrated by Sergey Mironov, who is now married to Inna Varlamova.

A Trail of Evidence

The investigation relied on the collaboration between BBC’s Panorama and Ukrainian human rights investigator Victoria Novikova. Through their efforts, they were able to trace Margarita’s journey and uncover crucial evidence. They discovered that Inna Varlamova, the woman who took Margarita from the hospital, works in Russia’s parliament and is married to Sergey Mironov. They also obtained train records showing that Varlamova traveled to occupied Ukraine on the same day Margarita was taken from the children’s home and returned to Moscow the same night, with extra return tickets. Further investigation revealed that Margarita’s adoption record had been altered, and she had been given a new name, Marina Mironova, after her adoptive father Sergey Mironov. The evidence strongly suggests that Margarita was illegally adopted by Mironov.

The Legality of the Adoption

The adoption of Margarita raises serious legal and ethical questions. The Geneva Convention, which defines war crimes, states that it is unlawful to deport civilians during times of war unless it is essential for security or imperative military reasons and is temporary. The convention also prohibits changing a child’s family status. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for President Vladimir Putin and his Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, for the alleged illegal deportation of Ukrainian children to Russian-controlled territory. The Russian government denies deporting Ukrainian children and claims to evacuate them for their protection. However, the evidence suggests that Margarita’s adoption was part of a larger pattern of illegal deportations and adoptions of Ukrainian children.

The Plight of Missing Children

Margarita is just one of thousands of Ukrainian children who have been taken by Russian forces since the start of the invasion. The Ukrainian government claims that over 20,000 children have been taken, while Russia disputes these figures. The investigation highlights the difficulties faced by parents trying to find and retrieve their missing children. Many parents do not know where their children are, and the process of locating and bringing them back is complex. The Russian authorities have been accused of erasing the children’s identities by issuing Russian birth certificates and passports, making it even harder to track them down. The investigation also reveals that Margarita is not the only child adopted by a prominent Russian figure, raising concerns about the fate of other missing children.


The investigation into the adoption of Margarita by Sergey Mironov, a political ally of Vladimir Putin, sheds light on the alarming issue of missing Ukrainian children. The evidence suggests that these children have been illegally deported and adopted by Russian individuals, raising serious legal and ethical concerns. The plight of these missing children and the challenges faced by their families in trying to locate and bring them back highlight the devastating impact of the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. As the international community grapples with the implications of this investigation, it is crucial to ensure that the rights and well-being of these children are protected, and that those responsible for their illegal adoption are held accountable. The case of Margarita serves as a reminder of the urgent need for action to address this humanitarian crisis.






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