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Reintegration Ministry: 11-year-old boy returned home from Russian-occupied Donetsk Oblast

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 27, 2024 10:45 PM 1 min read
Cars drive past a "Donetsk Oblast" sign at the border between Dnipropetrovsk Oblast and Donetsk Oblast on March 16, 2024, in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Ukraine. (Arsen Dzodzaiev/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Ukraine returned home an 11-year-old boy who had been separated from his mother in Russian-occupied Donetsk Oblast for two years, the Reintegration Ministry reported on May 27.

The boy was living with an elderly relative in Russian-occupied territory near Mariupol. The city was besieged by Russia at the start of the full-scale invasion in February 2022 and came under Russian occupation in May 2022.

As his mother serves in the Ukrainian military, she was unable to enter Russian-occupied territory, and the boy could not leave the area without being accompanied by an adult.

Representatives from the Reintegration Ministry and the Ukrainian Network for Children's Rights, a union of NGOs focused on children's rights, helped return the boy.

"Finally the boy is safe with his mother," the Reintegration Ministry said.

At least 19,500 Ukrainian children have been confirmed as abducted by Russia since the start of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and less than 400 have been returned home, according to the Ukrainian government's Children of War database.

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Qatar acts as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia to bring back Ukrainian children illegally held by Russia.
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