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48 Ukrainian orphans from the city of Kherson were illegally taken last year by Ukrainian collaborators and a deputy of the Russian State Duma, an investigation by Ukrainian media outlet Hromadske revealed on June 30.
The journalists identified Russian MP Igor Kastyukevich, a member of the Russia-installed collaborationist authorities Vadym Ilmiiev, and Tetiana Zavalska, the head of the Children's Home, as culprits in the deportation of 46 children on Oct. 21, 2022.
Two more children were abducted in September 2022, Hromadske added.
The so-called "Children's Home" headed by Zavalska was founded at the beginning of the occupation as a duplicate entity to the original institution under Russian registration, the journalists explained.
As a result of Hromadske's investigation, the General Prosecutor's Office has launched a criminal case against the three suspects.
Over 19,000 children have been abducted by Russia since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, according to the Ukrainian national database Children of War. Thousands are unaccounted for.
Ukraine has so far managed to return 373 Ukrainian children deported by Russia in an ongoing operation.