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Canada, Ukraine launch int’l coalition to return children deported by Russia

The coalition aims to collaborate with numerous countries worldwide, leveraging their collective influence to exert pressure on Moscow to secure the return of Ukrainian children.
Mélanie Joly and Dmytro Kuleba
Mélanie Joly and Dmytro Kuleba on 2 February2024 during a briefing in Kyiv. Credit: Screenshot from the video

On 2 February, in a joint briefing held in Kyiv, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, and Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, announced the formation of an international coalition dedicated to the repatriation of Ukrainian children who were forcibly deported from Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine to other occupied regions or Russia.

Since the onset of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russia has escalated its practice of forcibly deporting Ukrainian children from occupied territories to Russia. Russian authorities frequently change the identities of these children, making it more challenging for their families to locate and reunite with them.

Mélanie Joly emphasized the significance of returning Ukrainian children, stating, “The importance of returning these children cannot be underestimated. This is a matter of our humanity. Today, Canada and Ukraine will launch a new international coalition for the return of Ukrainian children.”

The coalition aims to collaborate with numerous countries worldwide and leverage their collective influence to exert pressure on Moscow, Joly highlighted.

Dmytro Kuleba expressed his gratitude for Canada’s commitment to this cause, emphasizing the effectiveness of the proposed mechanism.

“The personal dedication of Minister Joly and Canada to this issue is a shining example of human rights advocacy. The mechanism offered by Canada is efficient, and we hope that countries will actively participate in our efforts to bring our children back,” Kuleba said.

Ukraine officially registered 19,540 cases of Russia’s abduction of Ukrainian children, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, said during the Freedom or Fear international human rights conference in Kyiv on 7 December.

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