The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) condemned the forcible transfer of Ukrainian children and civilians to Russia and the temporarily occupied territories and called on Council of Europe member states to facilitate the safe return of deportees to Ukraine, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency has reported.
The relevant resolution "Deportations and forcible transfers of Ukrainian children and other civilians to Russian Federation or to Ukrainian territories temporarily occupied: create conditions for their safe return, stop these crimes and punish the perpetrators" was adopted by the Assembly at the plenary session of the spring session in Strasbourg on Thursday.
The resolution was supported by 87 delegates out of 89 present.
PACE called for urgent action to bring to justice those responsible for the forced deportation of children and the civilian population of Ukraine.
According to the resolution, the practice of unlawful deportations of Ukrainians to the Russian Federation from the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions had started before the Russian Federation’s full-scale aggression against Ukraine of 24 February 2022, taking the form of deportation to the Russian Federation of children from orphanages and of children with disabilities from specialised institutions.
As of the middle of April 2023, according to the government of Ukraine, more than 19,384 children have been deported to the Russian Federation, of which only 361 children have returned home.