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Ukraine's Chief Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets (L) during an event in Kyiv called "Civilians in Russia's illegal detention: Joint steps of the authorities and the civil society for their release" on April 16, 2024. (Ombudsman's Office/Facebook)
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Ukraine registers almost 37,000 people who are considered missing, including children, other civilians, and military personnel, Ukraine's Chief Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said on April 16.

Kyiv has also verified about 1,700 people who were illegally detained by Russia, and only 147 have been brought home, Lubinets said during an event in Kyiv called "Civilians in Russia's illegal detention: Joint steps of the authorities and the civil society for their release."

These last two figures likely did not include children, as the Children of War database lists over 19,500 deported or displaced children and 388 children who have been rescued from Russian captivity.

Moscow has been abducting civilians since the start of its aggression in 2014, and the situation only escalated after the start of the full-scale invasion eight years later, the ombudsman noted, adding that the real number of missing persons can be much higher.

Lubinets stressed that his office is doing everything it can to return the missing and abducted civilians.

"Based on an initiative of our office, Ukraine has established an international platform for the release of civilians illegally detained by Russia," he said.

Russia's war of aggression has taken a staggering toll on Ukraine's civilian population. The U.N. said last week it records almost 11,000 civilians killed and over 20,500 injured. The real number is likely higher, as Russia prevents international monitoring in the occupied areas that suffered the heaviest destruction, like Mariupol.

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