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Russian authorities detained Ukrainian woman helping to return children from Russian-occupied territories

by Dinara Khalilova May 30, 2023 9:10 PM 2 min read
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Russian state-controlled news agency RIA Novosti published a video on May 30 showing the interrogation of a woman who claimed to have tried bringing two orphans from Russian-occupied Henichesk, Kherson Oblast, to Germany via Kyiv.

RIA Novosti called the woman, Olha Hurulia, a representative of the NGO Save Ukraine, but the organization’s press service told BBC Russia that she was the godmother of one of the children. Hurulia tried to help return the boy and his brother home.

In a comment for the Kyiv Independent, the NGO’s press secretary Olha Yerokhina said Hurulia had all the needed documents to prove her connection to the children.

Hurulia was speaking under pressure on the video posted by RIA Novosti, where the woman said she wasn’t connected to the kids, Yerokhina added.

The press secretary told BBC Russia that Hurulia was detained and interrogated over a week ago, but she’s already outside Russia and safe. However, she didn’t manage to take the 17-year-old godson and his brother with her.

Over 19,000 children were 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 deported by Russia, and the process is ongoing.

Save Ukraine has helped people fleeing war zones since 2014. Over the past year, it launched a program to return taken children back to Ukraine. Over the past year, the NGO said it rescued 95 children.

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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