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Official: 2 Ukrainian teenagers deported by Russia return to their families

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 25, 2024 6:39 PM 1 min read
Schuman RoundaboutMembers from a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, Avaaz, light candels and lay toys on the ground in the , the center of the EU district in Brussels, Belgium, in protest against the Russian abduction of Ukrainian children on Feb. 24, 2023. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
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Two Ukrainian teenagers previously deported to Russia from the occupied part of Kherson Oblast returned to their families in Ukraine, Kherson Oblast Governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported on Jan. 25.

Since February 2022, nearly 20,000 Ukrainian children have been identified as abducted from Russian-occupied territories and sent to other Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine or to Russia itself, according to a Ukrainian national database. Ukraine has only been able to return about 400 children.

The teenagers returned on Jan. 25 are a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl from the village of Krynky on the east bank of the Dnipro River, held by Russia since the start of the full-scale invasion, according to Prokudin.

After Ukraine liberated Kherson and other regional settlements on the river’s west bank in November 2022, the teenagers were reportedly deported to Russia’s Krasnodar region.

“The efforts of many services resulted in returning the children to the Ukraine-controlled territory, to their families. Thanks to the organization Save Ukraine, which contributed to this,” the oblast governor said on Telegram.

Earlier the same day, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution calling on European leaders to make all efforts to return Ukrainian children abducted by Russia home.

In March 2023, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova for allegedly overseeing the forced deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia.

The ICC believes Putin “bears individual criminal responsibility” as the leader of Russia for the crimes committed against Ukrainian children.

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