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Official: Over 4,000 Ukrainian orphans forcibly moved by Russia
Russia forcibly moved 4,390 Ukrainian orphans, semi-orphans, and children without parental care to its territory or the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on March 28.
According to Vereshchuk, Ukraine hands all the information on Russia's abduction of Ukrainian children to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
"Enough evidence has already been collected. We hope that our efforts and the international community's pressure will allow us to speed up the process of returning our children," the Ukrainian official said, cited by Ukrinform news outlet.
More than 16,000 Ukrainian children are confirmed to have been deported by Russia since the start of the full-scale invasion, according to the government website Children of War.
However, Ukraine's ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said on March 24 that the real number of Ukrainian children forcibly taken by Russian troops could be "tens, or even hundreds of thousands."
Ukraine has so far managed to return over 300 Ukrainian children deported by Russia, according to Lubinets, and the process is ongoing.
On March 17, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian official allegedly overseeing the forced deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia.
In its statement, the ICC wrote that it believed Putin "bears individual criminal responsibility" as the leader of Russia for the crimes committed against Ukrainian children.