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Eleven Ukraine children returned from Russia

Eleven Ukraine children returned from Russia

Eleven Ukrainian children, who had been taken to Russia during the conflict that began in February 2022, were reunited with their families at the Belarus-Ukraine border Tuesday night after a nearly two-year ordeal.
The children's repatriation was facilitated by a Qatar-mediated deal, with the oldest, 16-year-old Oleksandr, expressing feelings of joy and anticipation for his new life.

The Qatari embassy in Moscow coordinated their departure, and they arrived at the border after stopping in Belarus. Two of the children were in critical condition and received immediate medical attention upon arrival.

It's estimated by Ukrainian officials that 20,000 children have been relocated to Russia since the war started, actions which President Volodymyr Zelensky has labeled as genocide—a claim Russia rejects.

This group marks the fourth batch of children returned thanks to Qatar's efforts, according to Ukraine's Human Rights Commissioner Dmytro Lubinets, who asserted that all displaced children would be brought back.

The personal stories of these children are heart-wrenching. Oleksandr's mother and brother were killed in the conflict, leaving him in a Russian-occupied area's state boarding school where he faced psychological pressure.

His aunt Viktoria, who intends to care for him in Zhytomyr, has recently reunited with him. Similarly, Kyiv's computer developer Sergiy hugged his niece and nephew at the border, ready to become their guardian after losing their parents.

Meanwhile, Qatar's ambassador Hadi Nasser Mansour Al-Hajjri emphasized the country's readiness to assist in future evacuations, including prisoners of war and political prisoners. Qatar has brought nearly 30 children to safety since July 2023 and remains committed to ongoing humanitarian efforts amidst the crisis.
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