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Zelensky arrives in Qatar to discuss return of kidnapped Ukrainian children

by Kateryna Denisova June 5, 2024 7:21 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on May 4, 2023 in The Hague, Netherlands. (P van Katwijk/Getty Images)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Qatar on June 5 to meet with sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Qatar has acted as a mediator between Kyiv and Moscow to bring back Ukrainian children illegally held by Russia. Over 19,500 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 Children of War database.

Ukraine and Qatar are set to discuss the continuation of this work both under the international coalition for the return of Ukrainian children and at the upcoming global peace summit in Switzerland, Zelensky said.

Other subjects to be discussed at the summit will include the possibility of an all-for-all prisoner swap, energy and nuclear security, plus free navigation of the Black and Azov seas.

Over 100 states and international organizations have already confirmed their participation in the event.

"Qatar took an active part in the preparation of the peace summit and should become one of the Middle East's voices for the return of people, and global food, nuclear, and energy security," Zelensky said.

The two leaders will also discuss a number of bilateral economic and security issues, Ukraine's president said.

Zelensky was also planning to visit Saudi Arabia to mobilize support for the peace summit, according to the media reports.  The country has also played an important role in negotiating prisoner exchanges with Russia, allowing Ukraine to achieve a major exchange involving nearly 300 people in September 2022.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia has maintained close economic ties with Russia, which have strengthened following the beginning of the full-scale war, and reportedly does not plan to be present at Ukraine's peace summit.

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Ukraine's GDP grew by more than 4% in 6 months.

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