The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia has taken a devastating toll on the country’s citizens, especially its children. It is with great relief that the Ukrainian government has announced the safe return of 128 children who were forcibly removed to Russia.
Yuliia Usenko, Head of the Department for the Protection of the Interests of Children and Combating Violence at the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine, spoke about the accomplishment, acknowledging the hard work and dedication of those who made it possible.
“Bringing these children back to the Motherland is no small feat,” Usenko said. “It requires the effort of many people, working for months, risking their own safety, to bring back just one child. These 128 children represent the lives of 128 children saved and the tireless work of many.”
The safe return of these children is a significant milestone for Ukraine, but it is just the beginning of a larger effort to protect the rights and safety of all children affected by the conflict. More than 50 of the children are currently in EU countries, and while their safe return to Ukraine is a cause for celebration, Usenko recognizes that there is still much work to be done.
“Unfortunately, conventional diplomatic tools and international humanitarian laws have not proven effective in this situation, but we will not give up,” Usenko said. “We will continue to search for new ways and maintain a dialogue with those who can support us in our mission to protect the children of Ukraine.”
For each of the 128 children reunited with their families, there are countless more who are still in danger and in need of protection. The Ukrainian government is determined to do everything in its power to bring back all of its children and ensure their safety and well-being. As Usenko stated, “For us, these are not just numbers, they are lives. And we will not rest until every child is back in the arms of their loved ones.”