Sixteen orphans from a children’s shelter in Snizhne, in the Donetsk Oblast, were taken by force to the Russian Federation and are presently in a refugee camp in Novoshakhtinsk (Rostov Olbast), reports Voice of Ukraine, June 12.
Accompanying the orphans are two Ukrainian educators, Vera Sahaydak, the head of Child Welfare Services of the Donetsk State Oblast Administration, told Voice of Ukraine.
As previously reported, on Thursday, June 12, armed militants seized the bus carrying 25 orphans and their guardians from their family-style residences in Snizhne to Dnipropetrovsk for rest. The bus was forced to return to the Dolzhansky checkpoint in the Luhansk Oblast.
The foster mother of one family residence, along with her own two children and seven foster children, categorically refused to leave Ukraine and is returning back. The other children, born from 1996 to 2008, were forcibly transferred across the border. Currently 16 children and two guardians are in a refugee camp in Novoshakhtinsk, Sahaydak said.
The armed militants also prevented the evacuation of 30 children from the children’s shelter in Kramatorsk. Everything was prepared to transport the children, aged from birth to three years, many of whom have severe congenital disabilities. However, someone from the staff revealed the plans to representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. They arrived in the building, spent the night, and in the morning prevented the removal of the children. Children from the orphanage in Kramatorsk had been successfully evacuated earlier. Afterwards, the director of the orphanage was summoned to the “commander” of the city and questioned about the reasons for the removal of the children.
“The accusation was the children were being trafficked” witnesses told Child Welfare Services. Witnesses also reported that, after the children were safely taken out of the city, a film crew from Russian NTV appeared and expressed disappointment the children were gone, “We were not able to film how they’re hiding in basements!” they said.
Voice of Ukraine has been informed that residents of neighboring Sloviansk — not of Kramatosk — are the ones hiding in basements. However, it appears Russian TV is capable of creating appropriate television footage anywhere.
Translation: Anna Mostovych
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