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Ombudsman: 11 more Ukrainian children illegally held by Russia return home

by Rachel Amran February 20, 2024 9:42 PM 2 min read
The Ombudsman's Office with 11 children returned to Ukraine on Feb. 20, 2024 after illegal deportation to Russia. (Lubinets/X)
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Ukraine managed to return 11 more children deported or illegally held by Russia, including in the occupied territories, Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets announced on Feb. 20.

Six girls, including two two-year-old twin sisters and five boys, were brought back to Ukraine with the help of Qatar and UNICEF. The youngest child in the group was two and the oldest returned child was 16. Two of the children were reportedly met with ambulance services upon arrival in Ukraine.

"This return, like all the others, took place within the framework of the implementation of the approved action plan of the President of Ukraine Bring Kids Back UA," Lubinets announced.

"The Ombudsman's Office, together with other state authorities, worked out the return route and the entire process. The children's relatives turned to our institution to return the forcibly displaced and deported Ukrainians to their homeland."

According to the announcement, the children were met by members of the Ombudsman's Office as well as the Ambassador of Qatar to Ukraine, Hadi Al-Ghajri.

The nation of Qatar has played a major mediation role in returning Ukrainian children who had been deported or forcibly transferred to Russia. Qatari officials have facilitated the return of at least 20 Ukrainian children since October.

The Ukrainian government has identified over 19,500 children who have been deported or forcibly displaced by Russia, less than 400 of whom have been returned to Ukraine.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Maria Lvova-Belova and Russian President Vladimir Putin in March 2023 over their role in the forced deportation of Ukrainian children.

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