Ukraine secures return of 522 children abducted by Russia - ombudsman

Ukraine secures return of 522 children abducted by Russia - ombudsman

The Ukrainian government has already ensured the release of 522 children, abducted by the invaders, including 387 deported to Russia.

This was stated by the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, who spoke at a briefing as part of the international conference on human rights "Freedom or Fear", an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

"Taking into account the latest return of our children, which took place yesterday, we have managed to ensure the return of 522 Ukrainian children, of which 387 were illegally deported to Russia," Lubinets informed.

He noted that his Office receives reports that every day, the Russians compile new lists of children whom they need to remove from Ukraine.

Read also: Deportation of over 19,500 Ukrainian children officially confirmed - Lubinets

"And we saw a new trend, in particular, in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, that they do not try to take the children to the territory of the Russian Federation right away. They try to take them from Donetsk and Luhansk regions to the territory of Belarus, and only then to the territory of the Russian Federation," the ombudsman said.

In his opinion, this may be a new tactic pursued by Russia for putting Belarus and self-proclaimed president Aleksandr Lukashenko on the list of those to be held accountable for the deportation of Ukrainian children.

"Or perhaps this is the newest toolkit of how to prevent us from proving that it is the Russian Federation that is deporting Ukrainian children, because somehow, relocating them through the territory of Belarus makes it as difficult as possible for us to officially confirm these facts," said the commissioner.

Answering questions about the "adopted" Ukrainian girl Marharyta Prokopenko, he stated that this is the first officially recorded fact regarding the Russians changing the Ukrainian child’s last name.

Read also: Return of children deported by Russia one Ukraine’s most important tasks - Kyslytsya at UNSC

"Unofficially, we see a lot of reports of Russia often changing first and last names, as well as the date of birth," Lubinets said.

As Ukrinform reported earlier, the head of the "Just Russia - For Truth" party, Sergey Mironov, secretly adopted a 10-month-old girl abducted from Kherson region during Russian occupation.  He has reportedly changed her name and citizenship.

According to mass media, the new name imposed on the Ukrainian child is Marina Mironova.

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