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Russia and Ukraine to exchange minors from separated families – Moscow

Russia and Ukraine have agreed to exchange children who have been separated from their families amid the hostilities between the two nations, a senior official involved in the negotiations announced on Wednesday.

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The talks were held with Qatar’s mediation, Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova told the media. Under the deal, Moscow will take in 19 children and send 29 home to Ukraine, she said.

Speaking to journalists in Doha, the official said the Qatari government was overseeing the lists of children slated for the planned swap. The talks were held in the capital of the Arab nation and amounted to the first in-person negotiation of this kind between Moscow and Kiev, according to Lvova-Belova.

Last year the Russian official was loudly accused by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of forcing the deportation and transfer of minors in the context of the Ukraine conflict. President Vladimir Putin was named as the second suspect in the case.

Moscow dismissed the ICC allegations, saying they were politically motivated and misrepresented Moscow’s actions. In reality, Russian authorities had evacuated civilians to protect them from violence, officials claimed.

The reported breakthrough came a week after Kiev bragged about discovering over 160 children “kidnapped by Russia” living safely in Germany. Most had entered the country with their parents or legal guardians, Berlin said.

Lvova-Belova argued that the news called into question Kiev’s “systemic myth” regarding the whereabouts of the young children. Many of those flagged by Ukraine as supposed Russian victims turn out to be with their families, she noted.

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