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Ukraine has managed to return nine more children deported or illegally held by Russia, including in the occupied territories, Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said on Sept. 8.
Among the returned children is a boy who was accused of blowing up a bridge and spent a month in prison being interrogated by Russian forces, according to Lubinets.
“He went through all the circles of hell, including filtration. But now he is with his mother in Ukraine,” added the official.
For security reasons, Lubinets couldn't disclose further details of the operation.
In the previous mission, the NGO Save Ukraine arranged the return of 11 children forcibly deported to Russia and occupied territories.
More than 19,500 children have been identified by the Ukrainian government as having been deported. Almost 400 of them have been brought back to Ukraine.
Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights Maria Lvova-Belova claimed on July 31 that 700,000 Ukrainian children had been brought to Russia since the start of the full-scale invasion in a mass deportation of Ukrainian children.
She said about 4.8 million Ukrainians have been "accepted" into Russia and claimed most children arrived with relatives. The numbers include 1,500 children who lived in orphanages or state institutions.
The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights Maria Lvova-Belova and Russian President Vladimir Putin for their involvement in the forced deportation of Ukrainian children during Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine.