"Conscious aggressor policy": Ukraine’s First Lady calls on UN to help return children abducted by Russia
First Lady Olena Zelenska appealed to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the entire UN to help return abducted children from Russia to Ukraine
She made the statement at an event organized on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, "Fighting for the Future: Ukrainian Children in War," Ukrinform reports.
"We lost 504 children, and hundreds more received injuries that they will carry throughout their lives," Zelenska emphasized.
According to her, over 19,500 Ukrainian children have been deported or forcibly taken to Russia. So far, Ukraine has managed to return only 386 abducted children.
"And these are only the cases we know about for certain, because it seems that there may be hundreds of thousands of such children," the First Lady said.
"They were told that their parents didn’t need them. That nobody needs them. That their country doesn't need them. That no one is looking for them... The abducted children were told that they were no longer children of Ukraine, but children of Russia, that Ukraine never existed and never will exist, that it is part of Russia. That they should love Russia, not their homeland," she said.
Cases of sexual violence committed by Russian military against children
She reminded that 231 cases of sexual violence, perpetrated by Russian military personnel against civilians, have been documented in Ukraine. Among the victims, there were 13 children, comprising 12 girls and one boy. The youngest victim was only four years old.
"Taking this opportunity, I appeal to the UN Secretary-General and the entire Organisation: help us save Ukrainian children. On behalf of all the children of Ukraine, I ask you to make personal efforts so that they won’t suffer anymore, so that this terrifying counter stops," Zelenska said.
She appealed for assistance in obtaining information about abducted children, preventing assimilation and passportization, and safely evacuating children from temporarily occupied territories through secure corridors.
"Our children need justice, because everything that is happening is not the random crime of an individual criminal. This is a deliberate policy of the aggressors, and we are calling on the entire democratic world to ensure that the war criminals are punished," the First Lady emphasized.