Russia accuses Portugal with a statement whose veracity could not be verified, Ukraine reacts in defense of Portugal: “The child was not stolen”.


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Russia accuses Portugal with a statement whose veracity could not be verified, Ukraine reacts in defense of Portugal: “The child was not stolen”.

Russia says that Portugal took Ukrainian children from their mothers. The Association of Ukrainians in Portugal reacts – it’s false. It’s propaganda. But here’s a fact: there is an international arrest warrant out for Putin for forcibly taking children from Ukraine – and there’s plenty of evidence to back it up.
“I am Alina Komisarenko from the city of Zaporizhia. My son was taken by the juvenile justice system in Portugal.” These statements were shared by Russia at an informal meeting of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, where Moscow assured that there are children of Ukrainian refugees in Europe.

The Russian ambassador to the UN specifically accused Portugal, Spain and Germany of taking “hundreds” of Ukrainian children from their mothers and placing them in foster care on their territories. The case of Alina Komisarenko was one of the examples given by Vasily Nebenzya, who accompanied himself with a video of what he said were testimonies of the situation.

“The number of people who have experienced this is in the hundreds. Small children are taken by strangers to care centers. Mothers who try to get their children back are threatened with prosecution,” the diplomat said, adding that it was not possible to verify the veracity of the testimonies.

Portugal “categorically denies” the allegations.
The Portuguese government “strongly rejects” the statements made by the Russian ambassador to the United Nations. In response to CNN Portugal, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirms “its support to Ukraine in various dimensions, including the reception of displaced Ukrainians, victims of Russia’s aggression against their country.

According to the latest data, Portugal has already received almost 60 thousand refugees from Ukraine. Many of these people are children, almost a thousand of them came without their parents.

The facts
Vasily Nebenzya’s indictment comes in the first days of Russia’s presidency of the UN Security Council and just weeks after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin. At issue are several war crimes, including alleged involvement in child abductions in Ukraine.

In the statement announcing the arrest warrant, the ICC accused Vladimir Putin of being “allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and unlawful transfer of population (children) from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.

Even before Vasily Nebenzya’s comments, Russia’s ombudsman for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, said that these children had been “rescued” and that she was ready to return the minors to Ukraine if Kiev formally requested it.

At issue are thousands of institutionalized Ukrainian children who have been forcibly transported to Russia or to Ukrainian territories occupied by Russian troops. One such example was seen in late February, when several Ukrainian children who had arrived on Russian territory from Mariupol were seen saluting the Russian armed forces during an event in Moscow marking the first anniversary of the war.

A report on Russia’s systematic program of re-education and adoption of children from Ukraine, published in February by the Yale School of Public Health’s Humanitarian Research Laboratory (HRL), estimates that more than six thousand Ukrainian minors have been placed in 43 Russian re-education camps or orphanages following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The report acknowledges that the number may be significantly higher.

In another report, the NGO Human Rights Watch states that thousands of Ukrainian children living in orphanages have been forcibly transferred to Russia or occupied territories.

According to the Ukrainian authorities, 16,221 children had been deported to Russia by the end of February last year, a figure that the UN Human Rights Commission could not confirm.

Association of Ukrainians in Portugal Says Russian Ambassador’s Statements Are “Pure Propaganda
The president of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal also rejected the statements of the Russian ambassador to the UN, which he described as “pure propaganda”.

Pavlo Sadokha said in a reaction to Lusa that Vasily Nebenzya is a “propagandist ambassador” who “has always made propaganda statements that do not correspond to the truth”.

Sadokha said that Russian propaganda “began to record videos with Ukrainian refugees, but manipulated the cases to show that refugee children from Ukraine are unprotected in the countries of the European Union.

In one of these videos, a woman who identifies herself as Alina Komisarenko, a native of the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, reports that her son “was taken by the juvenile justice system in Portugal”.

The president of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal told Lusa that “the case is true”, the “child was taken away from the mother by the Commission for the Protection of Minors”, but “it was not taken away without reason”.

“The child was not stolen,” Pavlo Sadokha stressed, adding that the Commission “had to react” to the case “in the same way” as it would if a child in similar circumstances was of another nationality, “whether Ukrainian, whether Russian…”.

Without specifying the reasons for taking the child away from the mother, claiming that the case is under investigation, Sadokha pointed out that the association is “trying to help” the woman, who is “in an emotionally difficult state, with her husband in Ukraine”.

Pavlo Sadokha also stressed that the Portuguese state “pays special attention to refugee children from Ukraine”.


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