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Foreign Ministry: Belarus to showcase abducted Ukrainian children at meeting with foreign diplomats

by Nate Ostiller September 30, 2023 7:39 PM 2 min read
Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko attends a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Sochi, Russia, on Sept. 15, 2023. ((MIKHAIL METZEL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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Belarus is planning to organize a visit for foreign representatives at locations where Ukrainian children taken from regions temporarily occupied by Russia are kept, the Foreign Ministry said on Sept. 30.

The visits will reportedly take place on Oct. 4 at the so-called "places of residence, education, and rehabilitation" of Ukrainian children from the cities of Lysychansk and Sieverodonetsk.

"This measure aims to legalize the illegal movement of Ukrainian children from the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine," the Foreign Ministry said. "According to international law, the forced deportation of children can be qualified as a war crime."

The Foreign Ministry urged state representatives who have received invitations to refrain from participating.

According to official estimates, Russia has abducted over 20,000 children from Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, although the actual number is likely much higher.

Belarusian authorities have confirmed hosting over 1,000 children from Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.

Belarus claims the children, taken from the occupied parts of Ukraine’s occupied regions, have reportedly been relocated for so-called “recreational programs,” a term falsely employed by both Moscow and Minsk to justify their abductions.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin and Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova for organizing the illegal transfers.

The European Parliament called on the ICC in mid-September to issue an arrest warrant against Lukashenko for his complicity in the crime.

The head of the Red Cross’ Belarusian branch, Dzmitryi Shautsou, has also confirmed his organization’s involvement in the abduction of Ukrainian children.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies recommended he step down until the investigation into his support for Russia’s war is concluded.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 13 – How, and why, Russia kidnaps thousands of Ukrainian children
Episode #13 of our weekly video podcast “This Week in Ukraine” is dedicated to a massive Russian scheme to kidnap tens of thousands of Ukrainian children, place them in re-education camps, and give them up for adoption to Russian families.
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