People story


Story 22: Serhii

Serhii, a 16-year-old boy, lived near Mariupol. Just before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, he lost his parents and lived in an orphanage. When the Russian forces took over his village, together with other orphans of different ages, Serhii was forcibly deported first to Donetsk and later to Russia. There, he was illegally adopted by a Russian family. After almost 10 months in Russia, the teenager was returned to Ukraine in December.

Upon arrival in the aggressor’s territory, Russia’s ombudsman Maria Lvova-Belova gave Serhii for adoption. The process itself is illegal, as the boy was kidnapped from Ukraine. Soon, a Russian family adopted the boy. Serhii didn’t even talk to his new “relatives”. The attitude towards him in the new “family” was not cruel, but all his thoughts were about returning to Ukraine.

After a while, Serhii found contacts of Ukrainian governmental chatbot and asked to help him go back home. We cannot disclose the process, but the boy was returned to Ukraine in December. After the stress and horrors, Serhii went through being deported to Russia, he receives median and psychological treatment.