Espreso. Global

Qatar to facilitate return of three Ukrainian children from Russia

16 October, 2023 Monday
12:30

This week, three Ukrainian children who were taken to Russia will be released to Qatari diplomats in Moscow as part of a mechanism created by Qatar to facilitate the return of a significant number of abducted children to Ukraine

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A representative of Qatar shared the information, Reuters reports.

It noted that on Friday, Qatar has already facilitated the return of a Ukrainian 7-year-old child who was reunited with his grandmother and is heading to Ukraine via Estonia. Now a 2-year-old, a 9-year-old boys and a 17-year-old girl will be returned to Ukraine.

According to a Qatari official, the return of these first four children tests the system that the Gulf Arab state has put in place after months of secret negotiations with Moscow and Kyiv.

Qatar's Minister of State for International Cooperation, Lolwah Al Khater, confirmed the mediation in a statement and called this week's repatriation "only a first step."

At the same time, Russian Children's Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova provided a short initial list of Ukrainian children to be returned to a team of Qatari diplomats. They verified each child’s identity.

According to the official, the Qatari diplomats will accompany the children across the border with Estonia, Latvia, or Belarus or to Qatar on a chartered plane before returning to Ukraine.

Deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia and Belarus

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 April 27, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recognized the deportation of residents of the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia as genocide and welcomed the issuance of arrest warrants for Putin and Russian Commissioner for Children's Rights Maria Lvova-Belova by the International Criminal Court.

On the same day, Vladimir Putin signed a decree allowing for the deportation of Ukrainians for refusing to accept Russian passports.

A special report presented by the OSCE on May 4 stated that Russia's forced deportation of Ukrainian children could be recognized as a crime against humanity.

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 labour and militarize Ukrainian children in the temporarily occupied territories.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories Iryna Vereshchuk said that Russia is changing the names and dates of birth of illegally deported children.

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.

On July 18, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on UN countries to join forces and force Russia to return to Ukrainian parents their children taken against their will to Russia during the war in Ukraine.

Later, Pavel Latushko, head of the People's Anti-Crisis Management and representative of the UnitedTransitional Cabinet of Belarus, said that some Ukrainian children from the occupied territories who had been taken to Belarus for "rehabilitation" had not returned. However, the head of the Belarusian Red Cross Society, Dmitry Shevtsov, reacted to this statement and called it "accusations" against Belarus. In response, Kyslytsya asked the UN to respond to the Belarusian Red Cross's admission of deporting children from Ukraine.

On July 21, it was reported that the Russians had taken 100 children from the temporarily occupied territories of Kherson region to Saransk to a sanatorium. It also became known that the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of the Russian Federation organized a "vacation" for 77 children from the temporarily occupied territories of Zaporizhzhia region in Stavropol.

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, National Resistance Center reported 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 has confirmed that forcibly deported Ukrainian children are held in his country. He added that Russia, Belarus would continue to take children from Ukraine.

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