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BBC: Putin ally linked to missing Ukrainian child

by Dmytro Basmat November 25, 2023 1:51 AM 2 min read
Ukrainian children returning from Russian captivity. Photo published on Oct. 21, 2023. (Dmytro Lubinets/Telegram)
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A Russian lawmaker is accused of adopting a two-year-old child who was allegedly removed from a children's home in Ukraine, a BBC investigation revealed on Nov. 23.

Sergey Mironov, leader of a Russian political party and a staunch ally of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, is named on the adoption records of a two-year-old girl who was taken in 2022 by a woman he is now married to.

Originally named Margarita, the child was one of 48 children who went missing from Kherson Regional Children's Home when Russian forces took control of the city. Records indicate the girl's identity was changed in Russia.

In a statement posted on X, Mironov denied the allegations and discredited the report and media outlets reporting on the story, categorizing it as a "fake."

The office of the Ukrainian parliament’s human rights commissioner is aware of the allegations and is looking into the reports, according to the Associated Press.

The allegations against Mironov fall in line with accusations that Russian lawmakers have played a pivotal role in the forced removal of children from Ukraine.

In March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian official allegedly overseeing the forced deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia. The unlawful transfer or deportation of civilians to Russia violates the fourth Geneva Convention and constitutes a war crime under international law.

Earlier this year, Lvova-Belova claimed that 700,000 Ukrainian children have been brought to Russia since the start of the full-scale invasion, including 1,500 children who lived in orphanages or state institutions.

A study by the Yale School of Public Health shows that Moscow has established a whole "network of re-education and adoption facilities" in Russia and occupied Crimea, with 43 camps where Ukrainian children have been held since Feb. 24, 2022, already identified.

More than 19,500 children have been identified by the Ukrainian government as having been deported and/or forcibly displaced by Russia. Almost 400 of them have been brought back to Ukraine.

Russia imposed restrictions on Ukrainian citizens seeking entry via land border crossings on Oct. 16, making it more difficult for Ukrainian families to bring home deported children, according to the BBC's Russian Service.

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