Ukraine: Zelensky calls on the UN to act against “forced deportations”

(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky on Wednesday urged a senior United Nations official to help find a solution to the forced deportation to Russia of thousands of adults and children, which Kyiv denounces as a serious consequence of the war launched by Moscow eleven months ago.

“The discussion focused above all on our nationals whom the occupiers deported to Russia”, declared Volodimir Zelensky about the interview he had during the day with the UN High Commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi.

“These are our adults, these are our children. A mechanism is needed to protect them and to bring them back, and to hold all those responsible for these deportations to account,” he continued in a daily video address. “I am certain that the UN institutions can show their leadership in resolving this issue.”

Kyiv has for months denounced the massive deportations of Ukrainians to Russia, often to reclusive regions located thousands of kilometers away. Moscow denies any bad intentions and says they are evacuations.

Volodimir Zelensky called genocide what he presented as measures by Moscow intended to hold these people captive and force them to accept Russian citizenship.

According to an official Ukrainian portal, entitled Children of War, 459 children have been killed and 916 injured since the start of the war on February 24. It also reports the deportation of more than 14,700 children.

The US State Department estimates the number of Ukrainian deportees at more than 900,000, possibly 1.6 million people, including 260,000 children.

(Written by Elaine Monaghan and Ron Popeski; French version Jean Terzian)

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