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Reintegration Ministry: 3 children return home from occupied Kherson Oblast

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 17, 2023 1:55 PM 2 min read
Oleksandr, 10, Daryna, 8, and six-year-old Yakov reunite with their family after being rescued from Russian-occupied Kherson Oblast on Oct. 17, 2023. ( Reintegration Ministry/Telegram)
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Three more Ukrainian children returned to their parents on the Kyiv-controlled territory on Oct. 17 in a rescue mission by the Ukrainian Child Rights Network and the Reintegration Ministry.

When Russian troops entered Kherson last year, the parents sent the kids, aged between six and 10, to their grandmother living in a village as they hoped it was safer there, the ministry wrote. Later, Ukraine liberated the regional capital, but the village remained under Russian occupation.

Last week, another family in Kherson Oblast reunited, according to the report. After spending 19 months in Russian occupation, nine-year-old Nadiia and her 14-year-old brother Mykhailo returned to their parents.

According to official estimates, since the start of the full-scale invasion, Russia has abducted or forcibly displaced around 20,000 children from Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, although the actual number is likely much higher.

Almost 400 of them have been brought back to the Kyiv-controlled territory.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants in March 2023 for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia's Commissioner for Children's Rights, on war crimes charges for their role in the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children during the full-scale invasion.

Abducting the future: How Ukrainian parents fight to rescue their children from Russia
One thought helped Yevhen Mezhevyi overcome the ordeal of Russian captivity – the thought of his three young children. Single father Mezhevyi, 40, was captured by Russian troops at a checkpoint when he and his children were fleeing their war-torn hometown of Mariupol last spring. For 45 days, Mezh…
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