After nearly a year and a half locked away in hiding under Russian occupation, followed by a daring escape last month, Ilona Pavliuk, 16, could hardly believe it was OK to just stop and play ping pong. When her father died, Ilona and her 15-year-old brother, Maksym, were left orphaned and vulnerable to being taken by Russian authorities. So, they fled, taking a circuitous route to Ukraine. "I knew I had to leave, because they would have taken me to Russia, given me a Russian passport, and sent me to an orphanage," Ilona said.
Class discussion: Should Russian President Vladimir Putin face a war crimes trial for taking Ukrainian children to Russia? Why or why not? Over the years, many war orphans were adopted by families in other countries, including the United States. What makes such adoptions right or wrong? Thousands of Native American children were forcibly removed from their families and sent to residential schools or foster families. Was that a crime? Should political leaders ever use children in attempts to wipe out unwanted cultures or ideas?
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