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Ukraine passes list of 561 Ukrainian children held in Russia to Qatar, ombudsman says

by Kateryna Hodunova April 25, 2024 11:11 PM 1 min read
Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) Dmytro Lubinets attends the international conference of human rights commissioners in Ankara, Turkey, on Jan. 12, 2023. (Muhammed Abdullah Kurtar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Ukraine has passed the list with the names of 561 Ukrainian children illegally held in Russia to Qatar, Ukraine's Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said on April 25.

The list is already being processed by the Russian authorities, according to Lubinets.

Ukraine cooperates with Qatar on bringing back Ukrainian children from Russia. Ukraine and Russia do not directly negotiate under this mission, Lubinets said, refuting previous claims by Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights Maria Lvova-Belova.

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 of them have been returned home, according to the Ukrainain government's Children of War database.

Lubinets made the announcement following two days of negotiations in Qatar.

He said that Ukraine expects to return a group of children, presumably as a result of these negotiations. Lubinets didn't specify the date or number of children. It's not clear whether the group will include children from the list passed to Qatar.

Qatar also agreed to mediate the return of orphaned Ukrainian children from Russia for the first time, according to Lubinets.

"We stressed that legally there is no difference between biological parents and official guardians. Therefore, the Russian Federation is obliged to return the children, regardless of their status," Lubinets said, adding that there could be as many as 3,600 such children in Russia.

Qatar also agreed to participate in the negotiations regarding the retun of Ukrainain civilians  held in Russia, Lubinets added.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Lvova-Belova and Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 17, 2023, over the deportation of Ukrainian children. The 123 member states of the ICC are required to arrest Putin if he steps foot on their territory.

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

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