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FRONTLINE: Children of Ukraine

Still from an orphanage in Kherson, Ukraine.
Ivan Fomichenko / FRONTLINE
Still from an orphanage in Kherson, Ukraine.

Premieres Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV / PBS App + Encore Thursday, April 18 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2

Since the start of Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, thousands of Ukrainian children have been taken and held in Russian-controlled territory. "Children of Ukraine," a new FRONTLINE documentary, tells the story of Ukrainian teenagers who escaped, and of Ukrainian families and investigators trying to track down missing children and collect evidence of alleged abductions.

The film explores how, last year, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin for the alleged war crime of unlawful deportation of children from occupied areas of Ukraine. The Kremlin dismissed the charges as “outrageous,” and Russia has said it’s been relocating Ukrainian children to ensure their safety and to provide medical care and education.

FRONTLINE "Children of Ukraine" - Preview

Directed and produced by BAFTA-award winning journalist Paul Kenyon, "Children of Ukraine" follows investigators with the International Partnership for Human Rights as they travel through Ukraine and collect accounts that tell a different story — including multiple cases in which Ukrainian teenagers held in Russian-controlled territory say they were mistreated and subjected to Russian propaganda.

“The main purpose is to erase our national identity by this ideological, political, cultural and sometimes even military re-education,” Ukrainian investigator Anna Lishchynska, who works for the IPHR, says in the documentary.

“You realize that you can be killed on any day,” one teenager, Vlad, says in the film of his time being held in Russian-controlled territory. “You can be taken away. The most frightening thing, probably, is to die there.”

With more than 19,000 children still being held illegally by Russia, according to Ukrainian authorities, "Children of Ukraine" is a powerful look at a little-known dimension of the Ukraine war.

“We’re still hoping to bring them back home,” Lishchynska says. “They’re still our children.”


"Children of Ukraine" continues FRONTLINE’s extensive and award-winning coverage of the ongoing conflict. The PBS investigative series produced at GBH in Boston won its first-ever Oscar at the Academy Awards this year for 20 Days in Mariupol, an on-the-ground documentary with The Associated Press chronicling the war’s human toll.

Watch On Your Schedule: "Children of Ukraine" in full at and in the PBS App starting April 16, 2024, at 7/6c. The documentary will premiere on PBS and on FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel.

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Credits: A Basement Films production for GBH/FRONTLINE in association with Channel 4. The director and producer is Paul Kenyon. The producer is Maxim Tucker. The senior producer is Dan Edge. The executive producer of Basement Films is Ben de Pear. The editor-in-chief and executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.