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Belarus Red Cross involved in kidnapping Ukrainian children

Dzmitry Shautsou Belarus Red Cross
Dzmitry Shautsou. Credit: Ulf Mauder/picture alliance/Getty Images
Belarus Red Cross involved in kidnapping Ukrainian children

Dzmitry Shautsou, head of the Belarusian Red Cross, acknowledged that the Belarusian Red Cross “has been and will continue to be involved” in taking Ukrainian children to Belarus.

During his visit to the occupied Donbas, Shautsou gave an interview for a propaganda film on the state-controlled channel Belarus 1, where he admitted that the Belarusian Red Cross takes part in kidnapping Ukrainian children and taking them to Belarus.

“I was outraged to the core by the fact that people, I think, to the extent of their minds being inflamed, or they think it is logical to do so, accused Belarus of kidnapping children who come to us for rehabilitation. And frankly speaking, the fact is that the Belarusian Red Cross has been actively involved in this and will continue to be so,” Shautsou said.

Dmytro Kuleba, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, called on the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for Dzmitry Shautsou.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) reported that their organizations were not made aware of the visit, nor were we involved in any of the activities, including with children.

According to IFRC, the organization has launched an investigation into alleged breaches of integrity.

“The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has learned from the media that the Secretary General of the Belarus Red Cross recently visited Luhansk and Donetsk. We were not made aware of the visit, nor were we involved in any of the activities, including with children.

Actions by any of our member national Red Cross or Red Crescent Societies in contradiction with our humanitarian mission, Fundamental Principles and policies are taken extremely seriously by IFRC.

The IFRC has therefore referred this case to the Compliance and Mediation Committee, which, under our constitution, is an independent body investigating and addressing alleged breaches of integrity.”

The ICRC condemned Shevtsov’s use of camouflage gear with the letter “Z” during his previous visit to occupied Donbas on 12 July 2023 as it violates the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

“We have contacted the Belarus Red Cross to express our grave concern and to stop any similar activity in the future,” the IFRC said.

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