A Ukrainian teen returns to Ukraine after being taken to Russia from occupied Mariupol. A teenage Ukrainian who had been deported to Russia during the war from the battle-torn city of Mariupol and had been barred from leaving the nation earlier this year returned home.
This month, Bohdan Yermokhin, who turned eighteen on Sunday, made a plea to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, asking for assistance in getting him back to Ukraine. He was turned back when he attempted to travel through Belarus to depart Russia for Ukraine in March.
“I thought I would be in Ukraine, but not today,” Yermokhin said to Reuters while having lunch at a gas station following his entry into the country.
To put it nicely, this present is rather enjoyable. I feel positive emotions, including the idea that Ukraine needs me.” Zelenskiy’s nightly video speech was a welcome comeback for Yermokhin.
“Many efforts were made to assist him. He stated, “I’m glad everything worked out. I want to thank the authorities in Qatar, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and Ukrainian officials for their assistance in mediating the situation.
Since the invasion on February 24, 2022, 20,000 children, some of whom were placed up for adoption, have allegedly illegally moved from Ukraine to Russia. Moscow, which maintains that it was defending youngsters in a conflicting area, has refuted Kyiv’s claim that this constitutes a war crime.
ORPHAN SENT TO A FOSTER CARE CENTER NEAR MOSCOW
When Moscow’s forces captured the orphan Yermokhin from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol in the first year of the war, he was brought to Russia and placed in a foster home in the Moscow area.
Reporters for Reuters observed Yermokhin being transported into Ukraine from the border in a van on Sunday while they were in the Ukrainian village of Kortelisy, which is close to the Belarusian border. In response to a question about whether he was happy to be back in Ukraine, Yermokhin responded, “Yes.”
President’s Office Head Andriy Yermak posted a message on Telegram Messenger announcing Bohdan’s return. “We were in constant contact with Bohdan, and he’s already in Ukraine with his cousin,” the message said.
According to Mariam Lambert of the Dutch NGO Orphans Feeding Foundation, since August, they have been collaborating with Zelenskiy’s office and the human rights ombudsman in Ukraine about the repatriation of children who have been deported to Russia, including Yermokhin.
Yermokhin has been advised to report to a draft office close to Moscow next month, according to his attorney, Kateryna Bobrovska, who has also warned that he may be drafted into the Russian army.
According to a statement from Russia’s children’s commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, he was called to renew his military registration, who also stated that “all Russian citizens of his age receive a summons of that kind.”
According to Lvova-Belova, Yermokhin visited a cousin in the Belarusian city of Minsk after departing Russia on an aircraft for Ukraine on Saturday. She admitted that Yermokhin wanted to be with his family again.
Vladimir Putin and Lvova-Belova are accused of committing a war crime by forcibly removing hundreds of children from Ukraine, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued an arrest order for Putin in March.
According to the Kremlin, Moscow has denied the accusations, claiming it does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction.