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8 Ukrainian kids returned from Russian occupation tell of beatings and threats

A charitable organization Save Ukraine successfully brought eight Ukrainian children aged 7 to 17 and their families back to Ukraine from the Russian-occupied Kherson and Donetsk Oblasts.
More children return to Ukraine from Russian occupation.
More children return to Ukraine from Russian occupation. Source: Save Ukraine NGO
8 Ukrainian kids returned from Russian occupation tell of beatings and threats

Ukraine returns eight more Ukrainian children aged 7 to 17 and their families from Russian-occupied parts of Kherson and Donetsk Oblasts. 

After Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, many Ukrainian children became separated from their relatives due to the Russian occupation of Ukrainian territories. The International Criminal Court also accused Russia’s President Putin and Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights Maria Lvova-Belova of deporting Ukrainian children to Russia, which is deemed war crimes. 

One of the rescued teenagers, Serhii, attempted to leave the occupied territory for the second time. According to Save Ukraine, Russian police stopped him at the border, detained him, and threatened him with imprisonment. During interrogation, they accused him of lying and threatened to bring a psychic to hypnotize him.

Olena, a mother of two rescued children, one of whom has a severe congenital disease, experienced abuse and searches at home. 

“The woman spoke with horror about how the Russians beat her until she lost consciousness. Then, they ordered her not to tell anyone that she was in pain,” Save Ukraine writes.

Another rescued teenager, Taras, reported receiving a message on his phone offering him a job in the Russian military immediately after activating a Russian SIM card, despite being a minor and too young for conscription.

“I was so happy when we crossed the border, and we were finally in Ukraine. I feel very well now. There they intimidate and beat, but here is a free country,” said one more returned teenager Myroslava.

Save Ukraine is a charitable organization that helps people, especially children, to return to Ukraine from the Russian-occupied territories. So far, the organization saved 405 children.

CEO of Save Ukraine NGO Mykola Kuleba earlier said that Ukrainian children living under Russian occupation are forced to wear Russian flags in schools. If their families refuse to do this, they receive threats of house confiscation and deportation.

In June, The New York Times identified 22 children out of 46 from Kherson Children’s Home, now listed for adoption in Russia, all of whom Russian authorities forcibly took to annexed Crimea before Kherson was liberated from Russian occupation in 2022; some of the kids still have their birth parents alive in Ukraine. 

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