At UN, diplomats meet Ukrainian kids returned to Ukraine after abduction by Russia

At UN, diplomats meet Ukrainian kids returned to Ukraine after abduction by Russia

Three children who were returned from Russia to their homeland attended an event hosted at the UN headquarters, dedicated to the abduction of Ukrainian children by Russia.

The children were accompanied by Ukraine President’s Representative for Children's Rights, Daria Herasimchuk, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

The high-level event "Stolen Voices: The Story of Ukrainian Children During the War" was attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine, his Dutch counterpart Hanke Bruins Slot, and Canada’s top diplomat Melanie Joly, as well as other government officials and diplomats from various countries.

Telling the children’s stories, Herasimchuk said Ilya, 9, whose mother was killed by a Russian strike in Mariupol, was taken to a hospital in occupied Donetsk with a serious leg injury. He was only returned to his homeland after his relative saw the child on Russian television. It took boy's grandmother almost a week to get there before she managed to take the boy back.

Read also: More than 164,000 children evacuated from Donetsk region since full-scale invasion

Kira's mother died at her daughter’s birth so the girl was raised by her father, Yevhen Obedynskyi, a famous water polo athlete. In March, the invaders killed the man in the shelling. Kira was taken deep into the occupied territory. Her grandfather launched a successful public campaign to pressure the Russian Federation to release her, which helped the effort to bring the girl back.

During the siege of Mariupol, Sashko sustained a serious injury to his eye in a Russian strike. Russian soldiers separated the boy from his mother in the so-called filtration camp. Sashko asked another child to use his phone in the hospital where he was put, and secretly called his grandmother. With the support of government agencies and public organizations, she received all the necessary paperwork and support to make the challenging journey to the occupied territory to bring back her grandson. Sashko's mother is still considered missing.

Read also: Russian troops injure 1,230 children in Ukraine

The representative said Russia had been using various methods of forced removal of Ukrainian children: abducting them from their families and boarding institutions en masse; taking the children after murdering their parents; separating them from families during the filtration routine, "temporarily" accommodating them in so-called "rehabilitation camps"; and removing them under the guise of treatment in Russian healthcare and rehabilitation facilities.

According to the Commissioner, so far only 388 children have been returned from Russia and the temporarily occupied territories.

The Ukrinform correspondent also saw the group of Ukrainian children meet with the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, shortly after the event.

As Ukrinform reported earlier, as part of the "Stolen Voices" campaign, which is held within the framework of the Bring Kids Back UA action plan, a high-level event regarding the return of Ukrainian children abducted and deported by Russia was held at the UN headquarters.

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