Belarus accused of role in transfers of Ukrainian children

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The Belarusian government has allegedly taken part in the illegal deportation of children from Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine, exiled Belarusian opposition leaders said in a preliminary report.

The National Anti-Crisis Management, a group of political opponents to the government of President Alexander Lukashenko, said in the report that 2,150 Ukrainian children, including orphans aged six to 15, were taken to so-called recreation camps and sanatoriums on Belarusian territory.

Reuters did not receive answers to questions sent to Lukashenko’s office. Ukraine’s former top prosecutor told Reuters last year there were cases of forced deportations of Ukrainians to Russia and Belarus. Ukrainian prosecutors did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Roughly 20,000 children have been illegally transferred to Russia since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, with some being put up for adoption, Ukraine has alleged.

In March, the International Criminal Court, the world’s permanent war crimes tribunal, issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his ombudsman for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, for two counts of war crimes for moving hundreds of Ukrainian children to Russia.

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