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Ukraine brings deported boy home from Russia

The image shows Mykyta, who was deported from Kherson to Russia by occupiers. Source: Mykola Kuleba
Ukraine brings deported boy home from Russia

The Ukrainian authorities, together with Save Ukraine, a charitable organization that aids families and children affected by war, returned a 17-year-old boy from Russia to Ukraine.

Mykyta is one of the 19,546 Ukrainian children deported by Russian troops since the onset of the war on 24 February 2022, according to Ukraine’s National Information Bureau.

“Russian troops illegally took the boy from the occupied city of Kherson and forcibly transferred him to Russia.

For two years, he was forced to live in the enemy country, in a foreign city, and attend a Russian school where Ukrainian children were treated as mentally disabled because they were unable to grasp the Russian educational program,” said Mykola Kuleba, the former ombudsman for children with the office of the president in Ukraine, and the founder of the Save Ukraine organization.

In the Russian school, Mykyta was compelled to attend “Discussions about important things” propaganda lessons aimed at indoctrinating children and preparing them for service in the Russian army. During those lessons children are taught to hate Ukraine and assemble riffles.

Little killers: Russia weaponizes school kids in occupied parts of Ukraine

What frightened the boy the most was the prospect that at 18 years old, Russians would force him to fight against his own homeland, Kuleba explains.

“Throughout this time, the boy never lost hope of returning to Ukraine. Now, he and his family are safe, receiving care from medical professionals and psychologists.

Since the start of 2024, 48 children have been successfully returned from the temporarily occupied territory of Kherson Oblast.

Every deported child deserves to be reunited with their family in Ukraine. Gratitude to everyone working tirelessly to bring them back to their homeland,” Governor of Kherson Oleksandr Prokudin wrote on Telegram. 

Help Ukrainian children reunite with their families here!

As of 28 March 2024, the Prosecutor General’s office of Ukraine confirmed that Russia’s war against Ukraine killed 537 and injured more than 1,269 children.

The prosecutors said that the number of casualties is not final as efforts continue to establish the exact numbers in areas of active combat, as well as in temporarily occupied and recently liberated territories.

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