Ukrainian Teenager Returns Home After Being Reunited with Family in Belarus
In a heartwarming turn of events, a Ukrainian teenager who was taken to Russia during the war in his country has finally returned home after being reunited with relatives in Belarus on his 18th birthday. Bohdan Yermokhin, who hails from the occupied city of Mariupol, had been prevented from leaving Russia earlier this year but managed to make his way back to Ukraine with the help of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
After successfully crossing the Ukraine-Belarus border, Yermokhin expressed his overwhelming emotions about being back in his homeland. “This is a very pleasant gift,” he said, “with the notion that Ukraine needs me.” The young orphan’s journey has shed light on a larger issue of illegal transfers of children to Russia since the invasion in 2022. Ukraine claims that 20,000 children have been affected, with some being put up for adoption. This allegation of war crimes is denied by Russia, who argues that they were protecting children in a war zone.
Yermokhin’s return was made possible through the collaborative efforts of various organizations, including the Dutch NGO Orphans Feeding Foundation, Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, and President Zelensky’s office. They have been working tirelessly since August to ensure the safe return of children deported to Russia.
While the reunion of Yermokhin with his family is undoubtedly a cause for celebration, there are still concerns about his future. His lawyer has revealed that he has been instructed to report to a draft office near Moscow next month, raising the possibility of conscription into the Russian army. Russia’s children’s commissioner justified this summons, stating that it is a routine procedure for all citizens of Yermokhin’s age.
The ongoing situation has escalated to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, with an arrest warrant issued for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The ICC accuses Putin and the children’s commissioner of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine. However, Russia has rejected these allegations and does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC.
The return of Bohdan Yermokhin represents a glimmer of hope for the thousands of children who are still separated from their families due to the conflict. Efforts to reunite these children with their loved ones continue, as the international community works towards finding a peaceful resolution to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Q: How did Bohdan Yermokhin manage to return to Ukraine?
A: He was reunited with relatives in Belarus on his 18th birthday and made his way back to Ukraine with the help of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Q: How many children have been affected by the illegal transfers to Russia?
A: Ukraine claims that 20,000 children have been affected.
Q: Who denies the allegation of war crimes?
A: Russia denies the allegation of war crimes and argues that they were protecting children in a war zone.
Q: Which organizations were involved in facilitating Yermokhin’s return?
A: Various organizations, including the Dutch NGO Orphans Feeding Foundation, Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, and President Zelensky’s office, were involved in facilitating Yermokhin’s return.
Q: What is the concern about Yermokhin’s future?
A: There are concerns that Yermokhin may be conscripted into the Russian army as he has been instructed to report to a draft office near Moscow next month.
Q: What action has been taken regarding the situation?
A: The situation has escalated to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, with an arrest warrant issued for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
– Ukraine-Belarus border: The border separating Ukraine and Belarus.
– War crimes: Violations of the laws or customs of war that are serious enough to be considered a criminal offense.
– ICC (International Criminal Court): An international tribunal located in The Hague, Netherlands, that has jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.
– Deportation: The act of forcibly removing someone from a country and sending them back to their country of origin.
– Conscription: The mandatory enlistment of individuals into the military or other national service.