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More deported Ukrainian children arrive in Belarus, Lukashenka confirms

Belarus hosts more Ukrainian children from Russian-occupied areas, promising to “make their childhood happier,” and declaring them part of the Belarusian family, Belarusian President Lukashenka said during a charity event in Minsk
Lukashenka Belarus Ukraine children
Belarus’ President Aliaksandr Lukashenka during the event where Ukrainian children taken from Russian-occupied Ukraine were present.
More deported Ukrainian children arrive in Belarus, Lukashenka confirms

Belarus’ President Aliaksandr Lukashenka attended a government-arranged event with children brought from Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, openly challenging international condemnation of Belarus’ role in Moscow’s deportation of Ukrainian children, The Associated Press reported. At the event, Lukashenka pledged to care for these children and to “make their childhood happier.”

Belarus has been a key ally to Russia since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, with Lukashenko allowing Russian forces to use Belarusian territory for the invasion and Russia deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

Since February 2022, over 2,400 Ukrainian children, ages six to 17, have been relocated to 13 different facilities within Belarus, Yale University’s study exposed.

The number of children recently brought into Belarus remains undisclosed by Belarusian officials.

“In the Palace of the Republic, our children have gathered – Belarusian, Russian, Ukrainian, Palestinian, Latvian, and many others,” the Belarusian President said.

Pavel Latushka, a former Belarusian culture minister and now an opposition activist, has presented evidence to the International Criminal Court (ICC) alleging Lukashenko’s involvement in the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children. Latushka stressed to AP the importance of the ICC investigating these actions, accusing Lukashenka and Kremlin associates of organizing a system to transfer Ukrainian children, including orphans, from occupied territories to Belarus.

“I have said many times and I will repeat that there are no strangers’ children in Belarus. They are all ours, they are family. Belarus has been and will be open to all who have lost peace in their countries. We have provided and will continue to provide assistance to such children. Children whose childhood the war tries to steal,” Lukashenka said during the event.

In March, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova, accusing them of war crimes related to the deportation and transfer of Ukrainian children. Lvova-Belova is among those Russians who have adopted a Ukrainian child since the February 2022 invasion.

Dmytro Lubinets, Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, stated that moving thousands of Ukrainian children to Belarus serves to conceal the unlawful deportations. The International Red Cross recently suspended its Belarusian chapter after its head, Dzmitry Shautsou, claimed involvement in transporting Ukrainian children to Belarus. Shautsou defended these actions as being for the children’s “health improvement,” asserting that they returned home safely.

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