Lukashenko personally visits illegally deported children from Ukraine
On December 28, self-proclaimed Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has personally attended a government-organized meeting with illegally deported children
AP reported the information.
At a meeting with children illegally deported from the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine, Lukashenko openly defied international outrage over his country's involvement in the deportation of Ukrainian children by the Russian authorities.
Speaking at an event marking the arrival of a new group of deported Ukrainian children on the New Year's Eve, Lukashenko promised to "embrace these children, bring them to our home, keep them warm and make their childhood happier."
Belarusian officials do not disclose how many Ukrainian children have been brought to the country.
Deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia
In the context of a full-scale invasion, Russia is deporting Ukrainian children en masse from the occupied territories of Ukraine. They are taken to the occupied Crimea, Russia or Belarus, allegedly for rehabilitation or to rest in camps.
On March 17, the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Russian Commissioner for Children's Rights Maria Lvova-Belova. They are suspected of forcibly deporting Ukrainian children.
On May 13, at a briefing in Rome with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he knew of more than 19,300 children deported by the Russians. On May 29, Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets spoke at an informal meeting of the UN Security Council on the issue of Russia's abduction of children from the occupied territories of Ukraine. The Ombudsman said that Russia deliberately changes legislation to make it impossible for Ukrainian children to return home and uses, among other things, the forced change of their citizenship to Russian.
Lubinets also noted that Russia does not provide any data on Ukrainian deported children - it is not even known where they are and in what conditions. He also said that Russians use child labor and militarize Ukrainian children in the temporarily occupied territories.
On June 8, a US Senate committee supported a draft resolution condemning the abduction of Ukrainian children by Russia and calling the occupiers' actions genocide.
Later, evidence emerged of Belarus' involvement in the deportation of Ukrainian children. On June 27, the Belarusian opposition submitted evidence to the International Criminal Court of the involvement of the self-proclaimed head of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko and his entourage in war crimes.
On July 18, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on UN countries to join forces and force Russia to return to Ukrainian parents and their children taken against their will to Russia during the war in Ukraine. On August 1, the US State Department called on Russia to stop deporting Ukrainian children from the occupied territories and to return them home.
On August 10, the National Resistance Center reported that Russian forces took teenagers from the temporarily occupied territories of the Donetsk region to military camps in Russia. The teenagers are being trained there, among other things.
On August 11, the self-proclaimed President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko confirmed that forcibly deported Ukrainian children are held in his country. He added that Russia, Belarus would continue to take children from Ukraine.
On September 24, the lower house of Canada's parliament unanimously passed a resolution condemning the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia, calling such actions of the occupiers war crimes and genocide.
In October, the International Red Cross called on the Belarusian branch of the organization to dismiss the head of the organization, Dzmitry Shevtsov, who had previously confirmed his involvement in the deportation of children from Ukrainian territories temporarily occupied by Russian troops.
In turn, the advisor to the Mariupol mayor, Petro Andriushchenko, said that Russia abducts Ukrainian children from the temporarily occupied territories through the humanitarian mission Children in Hands, founded by Lvova-Belova.
The Russian authorities are compiling new lists of Ukrainian children from the temporarily occupied territories who are to be taken to Russia via Belarus.