Ukrainian children deported by Russia could also be found in Belarus, ex-ombudsman suggests

Ukrainian children deported by Russia could also be found in Belarus, ex-ombudsman suggests

Mykola Kuleba, Executive chief of the Save Ukraine Charitable Foundation, Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights (2014-2021), believes that some of the Ukrainian children deported by Russia will also be found on the territory of Belarus.

He stated this during a press conference at the Media Center Ukraine-Ukrinform, answering the question of whether there is any data on how many Ukrainian children deported to  Russia were further brought to Belarus.

"We have no information on how many Ukrainian children are on the territory of Belarus. I think that we will also find these children in Belarus. But at the moment (data on - ed.) how many such children there are, and where they are - we don’t have as we don’t even know that as regards the Russian Federation. Now it is very difficult to find any information at all – in both Belarus and Russia," he said.

Read also: Stories of deported Ukrainian children: Russia’s anthem and threats

As the executive director of Save Ukraine clarified, that is why the activists are looking for any information on where these children could be, including across Russia.

Kateryna Rashevska, a lawyer with the Regional Center for Human Rights (RCHR), member of the Quebec Community of International Law and Interdepartmental Commission on the Application and Implementation of International Humanitarian Law in Ukraine, said that Russia has lists of so-called resource families - those that are already raising a certain number of Russian adopted children.

"And this creates additional space for manipulation. For example, (in Russia they tell these parents — ed.): "in order not to lose benefits or custody of these children — please take another 10 or eight (Ukrainian — ed.) children or something like that," lawyer said.

According to her, the Russian Federation illegally and unreasonably refuses to return Ukrainian children to their Homeland.

Read also: Yermak, Amal Clooney discuss holding Russia accountable for crimes against Ukrainian children

"This unjustified delay in the repatriation of these children – not even a delay but actions that are entirely aimed at making this repatriation impossible – is a serious violation of the Geneva Conventions, international humanitarian law, and can be qualified as a war crime," Rashevska is convinced.

As reported, since the outset of the full-scale war with Russia, as of April 7, a total of 11,090 children were considered to have been found in Ukraine after going missing.

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