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Ukraine has returned two illegally deported children from Russia

During the prisoner exchange on July 6, two Ukrainian children who had been illegally taken to Russia were returned to Ukraine. 6-year-old Renat and 10-year-old Varvara met with their mother, a combat medic who returned from Russian captivity last year.

Young Ukrainians Renat and Varvara are back home. July 6, 2023.
Photo: Andrii Yermak, Head of the Presidential Office of Ukraine

We returned the two children yesterday (July 6 – ed.). I met them in Kyiv today, and my representative, Oleksandr Kononenko, who works in the security and defense sector, brought them from the territory of the Russian Federation yesterday,” said Dmytro Lubinets, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

He noted that their mother, a combat medic, was also in Russian captivity. She was released during the POW exchange in October 2022 and had long been awaiting the return of her children, whom Russia illegally deported in an attempt to conceal the abduction. The children’s father died in Mariupol.

In total, 382 illegally deported Ukrainian children were returned as of July 7, 2023, according to Lubinets. He emphasized that the process is highly complex with various challenges and, therefore, stressed the importance of international organizations’ greater involvement in returning Ukrainian children home.

As of June 1, 2023, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine had been investigating over 2,900 war crimes committed by Russia against Ukrainian children. These crimes included murders and injuries, sexual violence, attacks on children’s institutions, deportation, forced displacement, and kidnapping.