(MENAFN- UkrinForm) Ukraine has managed to return 387 of the nearly 20,000 children illegally taken by the Russian Federation, and each return is not just statistics, but a unique international special operation.
First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska said this in a post on Telegram , Ukrinform reports.
"Russia does not make direct contact with us. That's why children are returned home through third countries, with the mediation of many caring people. Thus, the global cooperation is important. And that's why I am so hopeful about the coalition for the return of abducted children, the creation of which was proposed by Canada a month ago and which is to start working soon," she said.
According to the First Lady, the whole country was following the fate of 17-year-old Bohdan Yermokhin, an orphan boy taken by Russians. "He turned eighteen in captivity and was about to receive a Russian draft notice. The aggressor's cynicism is of the highest degree: to kidnap a minor and then force him to fight for himself. Bohdan was fighting – he escaped, was caught and returned. It was only through his own willpower and the efforts of many people from different countries that he is now in Ukraine," she added.
Olena Zelenska said that Bohdan told his own story at the special event dedicated to the issue of reintegration of illegally deported children after their return to Ukraine, which was held at the initiative of Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets at the Child Rights Protection Center.
According the First Lady, the event was not only about saving children, but also about reviving their sense of home. It is important that today's heroes have opportunities for learning and self-realization, that children receive psychological help after their experiences, and that children and their guardians receive financial and social support at the community level.
"And finally, the most painful thing: a significant number of abducted children are orphans or deprived of parental care. They are taken to Russia as whole orphanages, as was the case with Bohdan. Therefore, our principled position should be that upon returning home, they should be met by their families. Let it be a foster family, but a real one," the First Lady emphasized. Read also:
Zelensky calls for urgent action at meeting of International Coalition for Return of Ukrainian Children
According to her, it is necessary to make sure "that every child has no doubt that he or she will return home, where they are very much awaited. And that everyone returns."
As reported, according to Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets, the deportation of more than 19,500 Ukrainian children has been officially confirmed.
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