10 Children Returned From Russian-Held Areas, Says Ukraine

Ten Ukrainian children and their families have been returned to area controlled by Kyiv’s forces after living under Russian occupation, Kyiv announced on Thursday.

Kyiv has accused Moscow of abducting about 20,000 children from Ukraine’s east and south, and many more have found themselves under Russian control since Moscow’s soldiers entered in February 2022.

“The children and their families lived in the temporarily occupied territories of the Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions,” rights ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets stated.

In late 2022, the Kremlin claimed to have annexed the regions, along with the eastern territory of Lugansk.

The Ukrainian Ombudsman’s Office revealed images of children with blurred faces playing with multicolored toys.

Lubinets claimed the youngsters were recovering from the “horrors” they had endured and accused Russian-proxy officials of forcing them to attend Russian schools and chant the Russian anthem.

He further claimed that the families had been pressed to obtain Russian passports as a condition for receiving necessary services, including medical care.

Kyiv has made the return of the youngsters to Ukrainian-controlled territory a diplomatic priority.

Russia has stated that it removed some Ukrainian youngsters from their homes or orphanages for protection due to the prospect of hostilities.

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Children’s Rights Commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, in connection with the charges.

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