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Ombudsman: 9 more Ukrainian children illegally held by Russia return home

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 22, 2024 6:05 PM 2 min read
Ukraine brought back nine more children (Ombudsman of Ukraine/Telegram)
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Nine more Ukrainian children previously deported by Russia or held in Ukraine's Russian-occupied territories were brought back to Ukraine, Ukraine's Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said on March 22.

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.

According to Lubinets, two three-year-old sisters, a six-year-old boy, and a 10-year-old girl were rescued from orphanages after their guardians and relatives appealed for their return. A 12-year-old girl was returned and reunited with her mother.

Four other children were rescued from Russian-occupied territories.

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…

"Children were forced to attend Russian schools, where they were told that there was no independent state of Ukraine," Andriy Yermak, Ukraine's Presidential Office head, wrote on Telegram.

According to Lubinets, one of the girls who was returned had a disability and was not given proper medical care while being held in Russian-occupied territory. She will now reportedly receive proper care.

The children were returned with the help of Qatar, which has played a major mediation role in returning Ukrainian children who had been deported or forcibly transferred to Russia, and within the framework of the approved action plan of Ukraine's president Bring Kids Back UA.

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