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Ombudsman: Over 2,500 Ukrainian captive civilians deported to Russia
Over 2,500 Ukrainian civilians have been deported in custody to Russia from the occupied territories, Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said during a conference on April 6, as reported by Ukrinform.
"We cannot clearly say how many Ukrainians are currently on the territory of the Russian Federation as Russia itself does not provide us with any official numbers,” noted Lubinets.
According to Lubinets and the Office of the Ombudsman, there is evidence that Russia is allegedly trying to recruit some of the individuals into the Wagner mercenary group to then fight against Ukraine.
So far, Russia has reportedly deported over 19,000 children to its territory, violating the Geneva Conventions, the Reintegration Ministry reported on March 28.
To date, only 327 children have been returned to Ukraine.
On April 5, 49 countries together with the European Union issued a joint statement condemning Russia for organizing an informal meeting of the UN Security Council aimed at spreading "disinformation about its widespread and unlawful forced deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children."
Prior, on April 3, twelve people returned from Russian captivity, including ten soldiers and two civilians.
Five of the soldiers are seriously injured, according to Ukraine's Coordinating Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War.
Since the beginning of the large-scale invasion, 2,005 Ukrainians have already been released from Russian custody.