Bi-Weekly Digest 15

Latest News

  • December 5: The United States imposed sanctions against the head of the Belarusian Red Cross, Dmytro Shevtsov, for complicity in the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia and Belarus.
  • December 5: Qatar has pledged assistance in facilitating the return of six Ukrainian children who were deported from Russia back to Ukraine.
  • December 3: One hundred Ukrainians from the Temporary Occupied Territories (TOT) of the Kherson region were deported by the Russians in November. The deportation is carried out under the pretext of “evacuation.”
  • December 1: The Parliament of Canada released a statement pledging to continue Ukraine to repatriate deported children from Russia and Belarus. Specific solutions were proposed, namely 1) to appoint a high-level Canadian Global Affairs Coordinator to coordinate Canada’s efforts with allies; 2) to establish a centralized tracking and information management system to determine the location, status, and well-being of each child, and to support the investigation and prosecution of Russian crimes; 3) to introduce sanctions against low- and mid-level Russian officials, especially those who run “re-education” camp programs.
  • December 1: The Red Cross has suspended Belarus’ membership for its involvement in deporting Ukrainian children. Prior to this action, the head of the Belarusian Red Cross acknowledged participating in the removal of children from Ukraine under the guise of “rehabilitation.”
  • November 29: The PACE has created a special committee on Ukrainian children, which will be a tool for countering their forced deportation to the Russian Federation.
  • November 28: Upon the initiative of the Ukrainian delegation, an ad-hoc Committee will be established within the framework of PACE in December 2023. This committee is tasked with facilitating the return of Ukrainian children to their homes and addressing the issues temporarily displaced children face. People’s Deputy Olena Khomenko will assume the leadership of this committee.
  • November 23: A political associate of Putin has reportedly adopted a child who was allegedly abducted from a Ukrainian orphanage. According to the BBC, in December 2022, a Russian family adopted Margarita, subsequently changing her name to Marina and altering her birthplace from Kherson, Ukraine, to Podolsk, Russia.
  • November 21: Ukraine has successfully repatriated three more children who were deported to Russia, accomplishing this within the framework of the Bring Kids UA program, reported Ombudsman Lubinets.


Advocacy advances

  1. Ombudsman Lubinets held a meeting on the issue of the return of Ukrainian citizens with the newly appointed Head of the Representation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Ukraine, David Fischer.
  2. Ombudsman Lubinets met with Natalka Tsmots, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Canada to Ukraine, to discuss the repatriation of deported children.
  3. The Office of the Ombudsman signed a Memorandum with the International Human Rights NGO Freedom House. This collaborative agreement establishes a commitment to cooperate on issues related to the repatriation of Ukrainian prisoners of war, civilian hostages, and children deported to the Russian Federation and/or the Republic of Belarus. It also encompasses those who have been forcibly relocated within the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, intending to return them to Ukrainian territory. Additionally, the agreement emphasizes holding Belarusian and/or Russian officials involved in these actions accountable under criminal liability.


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