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The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has called on Russia to stop the forcible transfer of children from occupied Ukrainian territories, a move that breaches international law, and to reunite them with their families.
This request comes amid reports from Kyiv that approximately 20,000 children have been relocated to Russia without consent from their families or guardians, leading the International Criminal Court (ICC) to seek the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin for the alleged illegal deportation, a claim Russia vehemently denies.
The UN committee emphasized the need for Russia to disclose detailed information on the number of children taken and their current locations to facilitate their identification and repatriation. Despite facing accusations of violating international law through its actions since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Moscow maintains that its interventions were aimed at safeguarding children from the war. Furthermore, the committee highlighted the importance of preserving the children’s Ukrainian nationality, identity, name, and family ties.
This all comes after the ICC issued arrest warrants for Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, accusing them of the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children. The ICC’s chief prosecutor reported that Russia had relocated “at least hundreds” of children from orphanages and care homes in the occupied regions, with many being adopted subsequently. The Kremlin strongly refuted these allegations, which labeled them “outrageous and unacceptable.”