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Ukrainian NGO returns home four more children from Russian-occupied south

“Today, our Save Ukraine team brought back four more children from the occupied areas of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. These children range in age from 0 to 16 years old” – NGO
A demonstration in support of the safe return of children taken from Ukraine during the war, in Brussels in February 2023. Credit: Avaaz/X

The Ukrainian NGO Save Ukraine says it managed to evacuate four more children from the Russian-occupied areas in the south of the country on 2 February.

With the beginning of the Russian occupation of parts of Ukraine, many children remain separated from their close relatives who live in the government-controlled territory. Furthermore, Moscow has been relocating numerous Ukrainians to Russia, including a significant number of children, among whom orphans are frequently placed in foster care. In these instances, Russia often alters the children’s identities, complicating any future efforts to repatriate them.

“Today, our Save Ukraine team brought back four more children from the occupied areas of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. These children range in age from 0 to 16 years old. Currently, they are all safe in one of our centers,” the organization reported on Facebook.

Save Ukraine says the repatriation of the four children represents the NGO’s 15th rescue mission, and as of today, the organization has successfully brought home 235 children from the occupied territories and Russia.

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.

Days ago, Save Ukraine managed to retrieve four other children from Russia and the occupied territories of Ukraine.

Earlier, Daria Herasymchuk, Ukraine’s President’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights and Rehabilitation of Children, said Russia is utilizing at least six methods to forcibly relocate Ukrainian children onto its territory, including establishing a fake medical diagnosis for a child to justify supposed “treatment” in Russia.

Last fall, Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner, Dmytro Lubinets, reported over 19,540 Ukrainian children have been officially confirmed as deported by Russia, with actual numbers likely higher. Russia’s Children Ombudsman, Maria Lvova-Belova, claimed Russia “evacuated” 4.8 million individuals from Ukraine in 2022, including over 700,000 minors.

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