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Ombudsman: Ukrainian POWs, abducted children transferred through Belarus

by Martin Fornusek May 31, 2023 6:28 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman), Dmytro Lubinets attends the international conference of human rights commissioners âThe Future of Human Rights in the 21st Centuryâ in Ankara, Turkiye on January 12, 2023. (Muhammed Abdullah Kurtar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets confirmed during a press briefing that some Ukrainian prisoners of war and abducted children were transferred through the territory of Belarus, Ukrinform reported on May 31.

"We have confirmation that Ukrainian children, civilian hostages, and prisoners of war were forcibly moved through the territory of Belarus with the direct involvement of the Belarusian authorities," Lubinets said.

Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office told Reuters on May 24 that it was investigating Belarus' potential role in the illegal transfer of Ukrainian children from Russian-occupied territories.

Reuters cited a report published by exiled Belarusian opposition members alleging that 2,150 Ukrainian children, including orphans between the ages of six and 15, had been forcibly relocated to recreation camps and sanatoriums on Belarusian territory.

Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko is accused in the report of personally facilitating the forced relocation of Ukrainian orphans to Belarusian territory, which would implicate him in war crimes.

PACE adopted a resolution on April 27 recognizing Lukashenko as potentially complicit in Russia’s forced deportation of Ukrainian children amid its full-scale war.

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, over 19,000 children have been abducted by Russia, according to a Ukrainian national database, while thousands remain not accounted for. Ukraine has so far managed to return 371 Ukrainian children illegally deported by Russia, and the process is ongoing.

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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