News2023.06.01 14:58

Rally held outside Russian embassy in Vilnius in protest of Ukrainian children abductions

Several dozen people rallied outside the Russian Embassy in Vilnius to protest the abduction of Ukrainian children.

The protest was staged on Thursday in Boris Nemtsov Square to mark the International Day for Protection of Children.

“Ukrainians are experiencing one of the largest child abduction and deportation operations in modern history, being carried out by the Putin regime. [...] This includes re-education camps and forced adoptions, and it has the characteristics of genocide according to international law,” said conservative MP Laurynas Kasčiūnas, chairman of the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defence and the organiser of the rally.

“In a sense, it amounts to ethnic cleansing of the Ukrainian nation as children are abducted in this way and are being assimilated in Russia. This is what we want to draw attention to,” he told BNS.

Rally participants were draped in Ukrainian flags and held banners calling for an end to the war in Ukraine, prosecution of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the abduction of Ukrainian children to be stopped.

Attending the rally with his friends, student Laurynas Vilkas, 19, said that aggression against children was one of the cruellest elements of the ongoing war.

“Russia is kidnapping children straight from their families and is trying to integrate them in Russia. We totally disagree with that as we see a clear violation of human rights,” he told BNS.

Thousands of children have been illegally removed from Ukraine since Russia launched its large-scale invasion. The vast majority of them have been taken from occupied regions in southern and eastern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office says some 15,000 children have been abducted and taken from the occupied territories by the Russians.

Around 500 more children have been killed and about 1,000 injured during the war in Ukraine, Kasčiūnas said.

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for illegal deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia.

LRT has been certified according to the Journalism Trust Initiative Programme

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