I amMaria Lvova-Belova, the Russian commissioner for children who is the target of an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant, is scheduled to address an informal meeting of the Security Council hosted by Russia in Ukraine on Wednesday.
The announced participation drew the ire of the United Kingdom, which indicated it had blocked the planned broadcast of the event on the UN website. “If she wants to be held to account for her actions, let her do so at The Hague,” added a spokesman for the British Mission, the seat of the ICC.
According to the Russian Permanent Mission, the meeting aims to “provide objective information on the situation of children in the conflict zone in Donbass and the measures taken by the Russian authorities to evacuate children at risk.” Situation using the terms “abductions, forced displacements, adoptions”. Ukrainian authorities accuse Russia of “abducting” more than 16,000 children from Ukraine since the offensive began.
In March, the ICC issued a major arrest warrant against President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lavova-Belova, finding them responsible for the “war crime of illegally deporting” Ukrainian minors. Moscow claims to have “rescued” these children from the fighting and has procedures in place to reunite them with their families. Maria Lavova-Belova told a press conference on Tuesday that she is ready to return deported children to Ukraine if their families request it.
According to a statement from his office released on Tuesday, 16 children from nine families have been reunited with their relatives living in Ukraine or elsewhere since March 29. However, the Russian Children’s Commissar again refused to release the full list of Ukrainian children deported to Russia.
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