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Russia calls UN meet on Ukraine’s taken kids

AP – Russia plans to hold an informal meeting of the United Nations (UN) Security Council in early April on what it said is “the real situation” of Ukrainian children taken to Russia, an issue that has gained the spotlight following the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes related to their abduction.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told a news conference on Monday that Russia planned the council meeting long before Friday’s announcement by the ICC. Russia holds the rotating presidency of the council in April.

The court said it was seeking Putin’s arrest because he “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of (children) and that of unlawful transfer of (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation”.

The announcement of the warrants for Putin and the commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation Maria Lvova-Belova, was welcomed by Ukraine as a first step toward accountability by Russia for crimes following its February 14, 2022, invasion.

It was dismissed by Moscow, which is not one of the 123 countries that are parties to the court, calling the action “legally void” and “outrageous”.

The announcement followed a report last Thursday by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine that said there was evidence of the illegal transfer of hundreds of Ukrainian children to Russia.