“This is something that is happening in Russia and must not happen,” he added.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in Kyiv Thursday. Pic/AFP
Russia is violating the “fundamental principles of child protection” in wartime by giving Ukrainian children Russian passports and putting them up for adoption, the U.N.’s refugee agency (UNHCR) chief said in an interview.
Speaking at the UNHCR offices in Kyiv following a six-day tour of the country, Filippo Grandi said Ukraine’s president had asked his agency to “do more” to help children from occupied regions to whom this was happening. “Giving them (Russian) nationality or having them adopted goes against the fundamental principles of child protection in situations of war,” Grandi said. “This is something that is happening in Russia and must not happen,” he added.
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President Volodymyr Zelensky, after his meeting with Grandi on Wednesday, called for mechanisms to be set up to “defend and return” children and adults deported to Russia, as well as to punish those responsible. Grandi said his agency was unable to estimate the number of children who had been given passports or put up for adoption, as access in Russia was extremely limited. “We are seeking access all the time, and access has been rather rare, sporadic and not unfettered, if you see what I mean.” Russia has said accusations Ukrainian children have been abducted are false.
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