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Ukraine returns four abducted children from Russian captivity

So far, Ukraine has returned over 500 children illegally deported to Russia, amid official estimates of 20,000 minors being forcibly taken in total.
Children brought bak to Ukraine on 24 January. Photo: screenshot from Mykola Kuleba’s Facebook
Ukraine returns four abducted children from Russian captivity

Human rights organization Save Ukraine managed to retrieve four more children from Russia and the occupied territories of Ukraine.

“Today, the children finally met their families after a long separation. Some of them had not seen each other for almost two years,” Save Ukraine wrote in a Facebook post.

Thousands of other minors still in captivity are being illegally adopted into Russian families despite having alive parents in Ukraine or brainwashed into becoming Russian mercenaries.

Save Ukraine is a volunteer organization helping families and children affected by war. Its executive director is Mykola Kuleba, former Ombudsman for Children with the President of Ukraine. On 24 January, Save Ukraine completed its 15th rescue mission, and in total, they managed to return 231 Ukrainian children from Russia and the occupied territories.

The unlawful deportation of children is a war crime. According to Ukraine’s official data, Russia has kidnapped almost 20 thousand children, though the figures might be underestimated due to active hostilities and occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine. “If we return one child every day, it will take us 55 years,” said Dmytro Lubinets, Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights. According to Lubinets, Ukraine returned 517 abducted children home as of 14 January.

Based on these allegations, in March 2023, the International Crime Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President, Maria Lvova-Belova. The ICC accuses both individuals of committing war crimes, specifically the unlawful deportation and transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia.

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