UWC Vice President joins Helsinki Commission hearing on Ukraine’s abducted children

February 1,2024 480
UWC Vice President joins Helsinki Commission hearing on Ukraine’s abducted children

On January 31, the United States’ Ukrainian community leaders participated in a hearing at the Helsinki Commission on the issue of Ukrainian children abducted by Russia, reported Andriy Futey, the Vice President of the Ukrainian World Congress and the President of the Ukraine Congress Committee of America (UCCA).

In addition to Andriy Futey, the gathering included Michael Sawkiw, Jr., the Executive Vice President of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) and the Director of its Washington, D.C. bureau – the Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS). Also in attendance were Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States Oksana Markarova, Attorney General of Ukraine Andrii Kostin, Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada on Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets, Mykola Kuleba, Director of iDemocracy for Human Rights, along with Ukrainian children who had been abducted and successfully rescued from Russian occupation.

Russia’s abduction of thousands of Ukrainian children and adult civilians as part of its war on Ukraine calls for urgent U.S. and international action to both save Ukraine’s children and civilians and to hold Russia accountable for its war crimes,” the Commission wrote

During the meeting, the Commission heard from children who suffered from Russia’s illegal abductions, as well as testimonies from “top Ukrainian officials and non-governmental organizations working on the ground to locate and return Ukrainian children and adult civilians.”

The attendees also discussed how the US and the international community can support Ukraine. In October of last year, Ukraine confirmed that Russia had illegally deported 20,000 Ukrainian children, “but the actual figure is much higher,” noted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

On March 17, 2023, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for the arrest of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, as well as Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, who is Russia’s Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights.

Putin and Lvova-Belova are suspected of committing the war crime of illegal deportation and transfer of children from the occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, which took place at least since February 24, 2022.

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