Ukrainian kids held in Kremlin ‘camps’ reunited with family
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A group of Ukrainian children have finally returned home after being held in Russian camps for months. Vladimir Putin’s soldiers took the 17 children from their homes to occupied Crimea, telling the children that their families had abandoned them.
As the kids were finally reunited with their parents, the children recalled the awful treatment they were subjected to.
Stories included incidents where kids were beaten with iron rods if they expressed support for Ukraine.
One teenager described how children were beaten for speaking out of turn.
He also said that a security officer warned him: “We will take you to a boarding school, you will sit there and understand everything.”
The boy continued: “One girl was hit on the back, she had a big bruise on her back from where the rod was.
“We were sat in the hall, and there someone shouted ‘Glory to Ukraine!’ and then someone answered ‘Glory to the heroes’.
“They were taken away. But I don’t know what happened to him.”
The boy added that the people holding him threatened to take him to Pskov, a Russian city near the border with Estonia.
He continued: “They said that they would take us to Pskov… Somewhere in Russia, there is a boarding school, and there you will be adopted. But our parents didn’t kick us out, like, you can’t take us anywhere!”
A ten-year-old boy was also among the group of children being returned to their parents. The Daily Mail reports that the boy jumped into his father Denys Zaporozhchenko’s arms.
Denys’ daughter described how “everything was like in normal camps” but camp officials “made us sing and dance when inspectors came”.
Meanwhile, mother Inesa Vertos said her son came back a different boy after spending months at the Russian camp.
She said: “He looks at me and says ‘Mom, I don’t want to tell you about it, you wouldn’t sleep at night’.”
Taisia, a 15-year-old girl added: “If we didn’t sing the (Russian) national anthem, they made us write an explanatory note. Over the New Year, we were shown Putin’s speech.”
An organisation called Save Ukraine was behind the reunions.
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They came in the same month that the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Putin as Russian forces are accused of abducting children.
It has been reported that Russia is holding Ukrainian children in “re-education” camps.
The recent release of Ukrainian children was hailed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
She said: “It is a horrible reminder of the darkest times of our history, what’s happening there to deport children. This is a war crime.”
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