Three more Ukrainian kids abducted by Russia reunited with their families

Three more Ukrainian children have been returned from the Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine and from Russia with the mediation of Qatar, Ukrainian presidential chief-of-staff Andrii Yermak reported on Telegram on Dec. 16.

Two of the children, born in 2008 and 2012, were evacuated from the occupied territories and reunited with their mother. The third child, who was in Russia, was reunited with their mother in Georgia.

Ukraine has so far managed to return 387 children out of nearly 20,000 abducted by Russia during the occupation, First Lady Olena Zelenska said on Dec. 9.

Read also: First Lady Zelenska highlights plights of Ukraine’s children, confirms 504 dead, almost 20,000 kidnapped

Many of the abducted children were either orphans or lacked proper guardianship, having lost parental care. Entire orphanages and facilities housing such vulnerable children were forcibly relocated en masse to Russia, as occurred with one of the children, Bohdan Yermokhin, who eventually left Russia.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe reported on Nov. 27 that it had set up a special committee on the violation of the rights of Ukrainian children by Russians.

Read also: Five more Ukrainian kids abducted by Russia are returned to Ukraine

The first meeting of the committee was held in Paris on Dec. 15, focusing on violations of children’s rights by Russia, as well as the abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued on March 17 an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on charges of committing war crimes in connection with the abduction of Ukrainian children to Russia.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted on April 27 a resolution recognizing the forced transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia as genocide.

According to the Ukrainian state platform Children of War, as of Sept. 27, at least 19,546 children have been deported or forcibly transferred by Russia.

In total, according to the European Parliament, the number of Ukrainian children illegally abducted to Russia may be as high as 300,000. MEPs believe that Russians started taking Ukrainian children back in 2014, after the occupation of Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

The Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova admitted on Nov. 9 that 380 Ukrainian children are “under care and custody” across 15 regions of Russia.

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