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31 Ukrainian children return home after deportation to Russia

31 депортирани в Русия деца се върнаха в Украйна
Photo: Save Ukraine/frame shot
Thirty-one children who were deported to Russia have returned to Ukraine. This is the fifth and most difficult such mission to bring back deported Ukrainian children, said Mykola Kuleba, the founder of the Save Ukraine humanitarian organisation that helped arrange the rescue mission.

The children were reunited with their families in Ukraine this weekend after a long operation to bring them back home from Russia or Russian-occupied Crimea, where they had been taken from areas occupied by Russian forces during the war.

"There were kids who changed their locations five times in five months, some children say that they were living with rats and cockroaches," he said. The children were taken to what Russians called stays in summer camps from occupied parts of Ukraine's Kharkiv and Kherson regions, Kuleba said.

A statement posted Wednesday on Twitter by Ukraine's UN ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said more than 19,500 children had been seized from their families or orphanages and forcibly deported. Kiev condemns this as unlawful deportation. Moscow, which controls parts of eastern and southern Ukraine, says they were transported for their own safety.

Bulgarian Mariana Katsarova was appointed this week by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Russian Federation. She will be monitoring the rights of deported Ukrainian children, as well. "This is the first time there has been such a mandate on a country that is a permanent member of the Security Council. Bulgaria has never had special rapporteurs on any country before. I accept the appointment as an honour for our country," she told Nova TV. "This does not mean that I will represent Bulgaria in terms of its foreign policy or government policy. The post is that of an independent expert," Katsarova clarified.

Securing financial resources for Ukraine will be one of the leading topics at the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings, which start on April 10 in Washington.

Listen to the daily news from Bulgaria presented in "Bulgaria Today" podcast, available in Spotify.

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