Espreso. Global

Kids for Russian elites: who kidnaps Ukrainian children from Kherson

4 June, 2024 Tuesday
14:46

Sergey Mironov, leader of the A Just Russia political faction, and Elena Varlamova, an employee of the State Duma, recently married. Before that, they committed a war crime by kidnapping Ukrainian children from Kherson

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TSN journalists reported the information in their recent investigation.

Sergey Mironov and Elena Varlamova recently baptized a girl named Marina Mironova. However, her real name is Marharyta Prokopenko, a child they allegedly kidnapped from Kherson to seal their marriage, according to the investigation.

Born in October 2021, Marharyta was taken from the Kherson Regional Children's Home during the Russian occupation. Varlamova visited the home with the help of Tatiana Zavalska, a local collaborator who became the chief doctor there.

TSN accessed Varlamova's correspondence, revealing that Zavalska advised her to take two Ukrainian babies, Marharyta and a boy named Illya. Varlamova chose Marharyta, who was then hospitalized with bronchitis. Ukrainian Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets confirmed that Varlamova visited the hospital, and shortly after, Marharyta and Illya were taken to Moscow.

On September 1, 2022, Marharyta was abruptly removed from treatment and returned to the orphanage, only to be kidnapped the next day and taken to Moscow. The pre-trial investigation found no medical reason for the evacuation. It was documented that State Duma Deputy Yana Lantratova led the kidnapping.

Varlamova married Mironov a month later. Despite Mironov's claims of journalistic fabrication, Varlamova’s correspondence with her relative Elena Polikarpova shows they discussed the abduction with their elder children and ordered them to keep it secret.

The couple later abandoned Illya, who had health problems, treating him like an "unwanted kitten," according to TSN. His whereabouts are unknown. Meanwhile, Marharyta's identity was changed with a fake birth certificate, making her Marina Mironova, born in the Moscow region.

The Ukrainian Ombudsman's office, the Security Service of Ukraine, and the Prosecutor's Office prioritize Marharyta’s return. "We are trying our best with the resources we have to find children who are still on the territory of the Russian Federation," said Yulia Usenko from the Prosecutor General’s Office.

In fact, Marharyta does have relatives – no one asked their permission when Marharyta was taken from Kherson. They are looking for the stolen child and are ready to give her a real family. Marharyta’s real sister, Anna, and legal guardian Daryna Repina, are in Greece, ready to reunite with her. "When I was told that the child was alive, that she was adopted, it was great happiness for us that we have a chance to have her back, that she will be with us, that we will unite. The children should grow up together in the family," Repina said.

The Ukrainian authorities remain determined to bring those responsible to justice. "We will appeal to international mediators to demand Marharyta's return," Lubinets stated.

The kidnapping of Marharyta and Illya is part of a broader pattern of Russian war crimes, which Ukrainian officials are committed to addressing on the international stage.
 

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