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Ombudsman: 7 more children returned home from Russian-occupied territories

by Kateryna Hodunova April 3, 2024 10:59 PM 2 min read
Ukraine brought back seven more children from the Russian-occupied territories on April 3. (Ombudsman of Ukraine/Telegram)
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Seven more Ukrainian children, together with their families, were returned home from the Russian-occupied territories in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said on April 3.

At least 19,500 children have been confirmed as abducted by Russia since the start of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and less than 400 of them have been returned home, according to the Children of War database.

"Some of the families went through true horror under occupation and became the witnesses of Russians looting homes of the locals, forcing (Ukrainians) to take Russian passports, abusing Ukrainians, forcing children to learn by 'Russia's world' canons," Lubinets wrote on his Telegram channel.

Lubinets also said that families with boys decided to flee from the occupied territories due to the risk of a future men mobilization to the Russian army.

"The children's parents said at our Centre of Children's Rights Protection that the perspectives of their future on the occupied territories did not fit their further view on their family's lives," Lubinets added. "So, they decided to move to the territories, which remained under Ukraine's control."

According to Lubinets, the returned families will receive the required medical, humanitarian, and psychological help. Later, they will also be assisted in further document restoration, job searching, and sending children to educational institutions, Lubinets added.

Previously, the ombudsman reported on March 22 on the return of nine children who were deported by Russia or held in Ukraine's Russian-occupied territories.

On March 18, Lubinets said that 33 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, and Poland, are involved in the international coalition that aims to return Ukrainian children from Russian captivity. Ukraine and Canada established the coalition on Feb. 2.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 17, 2023, over the deportation of Ukrainian children. The 123 member states of the ICC are required to arrest Putin if he steps foot on their territory.

Explainer: What we know about Russia’s deportation of Ukrainian children
In March, the International Criminal Court made a historic ruling: It issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian official overseeing the forced deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia. The statement by ICC says that Putin is “allegedly respo…
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