Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshchuk on Saturday evening published an appeal to the Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova and the Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia Tatyana Moskalkova with a call to hand over to the Ukrainian side the lists of Ukrainian children taken out after February 24 last year from Ukraine to Russia or located in the territories occupied by Russia.
The appeal was published in Russian on the Vereshchuk telegram channel. It notes that we are talking about orphans or children deprived of parental care.
The appeal appears to be related to arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Friday for Lvova-Belova and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who are suspected of smuggling Ukrainian children to Russia following Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine.
- Kyiv and international human rights organizations accuse Moscow of resettling Ukrainian children from orphanages in the occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia and transferring them to foster families, even if they have relatives in Ukraine. There are reports that such children can be “re-educated” so that they do not consider themselves Ukrainians and treat Russia well.
- International law prohibits changing the status of children during armed conflicts, human rights activists say. The forced transfer of children from one human group to another can also be considered an act of genocide.
- In May, Russia changed its laws to allow Ukrainian children left without parental care to obtain Russian citizenship. This facilitates their further placement under guardianship and adoption.
- Moscow says it is saving children taken out of Ukraine from the war. In addition, Moscow has officially announced the annexation of four regions of Ukraine where hostilities are currently taking place, and thus considers the occupied Ukrainian territories to be Russian.
- Lvova-Belova said in a recent meeting with Putin that she adopted a 15-year-old boy from Mariupol, a city taken by Russian troops last spring after heavy fighting. According to her, the child appeared in her family “thanks to Putin.”
- Russia does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and does not participate in its work. The Court, in turn, does not recognize the immunity of heads of state when it comes to investigating and prosecuting war crimes.
- No arrest warrant was issued against Moskalkova. She is one of the few Russian representatives with whom Ukrainian officials contacted during the war, in particular on issues of ensuring the rights of prisoners and their exchange. Moskalkova on Saturday criticized the decision of the International Criminal Court.
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