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Lvova-Belova claims 700,000 children deported from Ukraine

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 31, 2023 7:21 PM 2 min read
Maria Lvova-Belova holds a press conference at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow on April 4, 2023. (Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights Maria Lvova-Belova claimed that 700,000 Ukrainian children have been brought to Russia since the start of the full-scale invasion.

In total, she said about 4.8 million Ukrainians have been "accepted" into Russia and claimed most children arrived with relatives. The numbers include 1,500 children who lived in orphanages or state institutions.

The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Lvova-Belova and Russian President Vladimir Putin for their involvement in the forced deportation of Ukrainian children during Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine.

In February, Putin praised Lvova-Belova for her work overseeing the deportation of Ukrainian children, portraying it as a so-called “humanitarian effort” to “protect Russian citizens.”

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…

In Russia, deported Ukrainian children are placed in hotels, summer camps, recreation centers, and shelters, where the conditions are often poor, according to the report by a coalition of Ukrainian NGOs that documents Russia's war crimes.

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.

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan said he believes Russia is treating children like “spoils of war," and that the Kremlin does not seem to be denying the allegations against it but rather wearing it “like a badge of honor."

Russia withdrew from the ICC in 2016 following its criticism of Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea.

More than 19,500 children have been identified by the Ukrainian government as having been deported. 385 of them have been returned to Ukraine.

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