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Yermak met with United24 to discuss the return of abducted children

May 8, 2023

Head of the Presidential Office Andriy Yermak held a series of meetings with ambassadors of the United24 fundraising platform and discussed assistance in the return of Ukrainian children deported by Russia.


According to Ukrinform, this was reported by the Office of the President.

In particular, a meeting was held with French film director Michel Azanavicius, American actress from Ukraine Ivanna Sakhno and Canadian actress Katherine Winnick, American actor, director, and producer Liev Schreiber, and British documentary director Andre Singer.

The head of the OP stated that world unity plays a crucial role in the issue of returning Ukrainian children from Russia, as well as in the fight against the aggressor state on the battlefield.

"The unity of the international community is as powerful a weapon as HIMARS and Patriot. We continue to look for opportunities and tools with which we can return our children deported by Russia from the occupied territories of Ukraine. That is why it is so important to tell the world about this problem so that people in Europe and America remember that this terrible war continues and the most vulnerable suffer from it," emphasized Yermak.

According to him, this problem has several aspects. The first category of children is those who have parents from whom the invaders took them away and illegally took them to Russia under the pretext of rehabilitation. The second category is minor citizens of Ukraine who have lost their parents but have grandparents, aunts, or uncles, but the invaders do not return the children to their relatives, but give them up for adoption in Russia. The most difficult third category is children illegally taken by Russians from orphanages located in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. They are the most difficult to identify because the invaders often destroy children's documents and change their names and nationality during adoption.

Read also: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the deportation of children: OSCE report can be used to bring Russia to justice

Yermak noted that there is still no effective mechanism in the world that would help return Ukrainian children to their homeland, so President Volodymyr Zelenskyy set a task: with the involvement of all relevant ministers, the Ombudsman, the Prosecutor General's Office, to develop a step-by-step action program for cooperation with international organizations, media, and public figures to return children from Russia.

"One of these effective steps could be to involve celebrities who will speak about the crimes committed by Russia against Ukrainian children, depriving them of their homeland, national identity, native language, etc. at various international venues: film festivals, music and film awards. We want the international community to put pressure on Russia and demand that they return the little Ukrainians home," emphasized Yermak, adding that many famous people have already agreed to help with this.

For her part, Sakhno noted that she was well aware of the problem of the deportation of Ukrainian children. She supported the idea that people on various public platforms, including the U.S. Congress, should highlight this issue and draw the attention of the American people to it.

According to Wynnyk, if she had not had the opportunity to study Ukrainian traditions and the Ukrainian language in Canada, she would not have known her roots and would not be in Ukraine today. "If you are counting on my help, I am 100% on your side," she assured.

Yermak also emphasized the importance of spreading truthful information about the events in Ukraine, as Russian propaganda continues to work, particularly in the countries of the Global South, whose support Ukraine needs.

According to the head of the OP, Ukraine can be told through the stories of ordinary Ukrainians who performed truly heroic deeds during this full-scale war. This includes the story of the Azovstal defenders and the heroic defense of Kyiv, Kharkiv, and other regions, or the story of a girl gymnast who lost her leg to Russian shelling but continued training and is preparing for competitions.

Read also: After the ICC warrant for Putin, Russia has become more cautious about Ukrainian children - OSCE expert

"Everyone in the world knows about Ukraine now. And of course, people will be interested in learning more about our country and our history. Foreign filmmakers are already looking for such stories in Ukraine, and we, as the government, are ready to assist in every way possible. In addition, we have talented directors, actors, and great opportunities to build a film industry here in the future, when we recover," emphasized Yermak.
"It was very important to continue to support the unity of the international community around Ukraine. We still lack weapons. And our people need to know that the world remembers Ukraine and does not stop in its assistance. This gives strength and inspires us to fight and win the victory we are confident of," summarized the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine.

Author - Serhii Kolomiets, 08/05/2023

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