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Children Reunited with Their Families in Ukraine

The article reports on a long and complex operation to reunite children with their families in Ukraine, resulting in the return of over 30 children from Russia or Russian-occupied Crimea to their families. The children, who were taken from areas occupied by Russian forces during the war, were brought back home through a rescue mission involving travel across four countries.

According to the article, 13-year-old Dasha Rakk and her twin sister agreed to leave the Russian-occupied city of Kherson to attend a summer camp in Crimea, but were instead told they would be staying for longer and would be adopted or given guardianship by Russian officials. Dasha’s mother Natalia traveled to Crimea, passing through Poland, Belarus, and Moscow, to retrieve her daughters.

The article quotes Mykola Kuleba, the founder of the Save Ukraine humanitarian organisation, as saying that the rescue mission was special due to the complexity and the number of children brought back. Kuleba added that the children reported being ill-treated, with some saying they lived with rats and cockroaches, and that no one in Russia was trying to find their parents.

Children Reunited with Their Families in Ukraine

Three children who were part of the rescue mission were present at a media briefing in Kyiv, where they shared their experiences of being forced to stay in Russian summer camps for four to six months and being treated like animals. The children reported being told their parents no longer wanted them and were moved from one place to another during their stay.

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s children’s rights commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, accusing them of abducting children from Ukraine. Russia has rejected the allegations, saying it does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction and calling the warrants null and void.

The article highlights the emotional toll of the conflict on the children and their families, with Kyiv estimating that nearly 19,500 children have been taken to Russia or Russian-occupied Crimea since the invasion last year. The lawyer from a Ukrainian NGO, Kateryna Rashevska, emphasized that they are collecting evidence to build a case that Russian officials deliberately prevented the return of the Ukrainian children


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