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Ukraine’s UN ambassador shocked many today as he told members of the UN Security Council that Russia had abducted 121,000 Ukrainian children from his country since the start of the bloody invasion. The Council met to hear about the impact of the Russian war on Ukraine on women and children.
Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s permanent representative, told council members that most of the children he said were abducted by the Russians were orphans and not children of parents and other relatives. He said the abductions were in clear violation of international law and conventions. He also claimed that Russia was allegedly drafting a bill that would “simplify and speed up the procedures for the adoption of abducted Ukrainian children …”
Kyslytsya said the withdrawal of Russian troops from some areas had left a trail of “unimaginable suffering with murder, indescribable torture and sexual violence, including rape and mutilation.”
He gave an example which he said was under investigation by the Ukrainian prosecution of a case in which “a Russian soldier killed a local resident and then repeatedly raped his wife in their private house. The identity of the suspect has been established.” He called on the international community to investigate this and other crimes.
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He emotionally ended his speech by reading from a letter from a nine-year-old boy to his dead mother.
“Mom. This letter is my gift to you on Women’s Day on March 8th … Thank you for the best 9 years of my life! Thank you so much for my childhood! You are the best mother in the world. I will never forget you! I wish you good luck in heaven. I want you to go to paradise. I will try to behave well to also go to paradise. Kiss you, your Tolya. “
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Ambassador to the United Nations, addressed the Russian president: “When men like President Putin start wars, women and children are displaced. Women and children are harmed. Women and children are raped and abused. And women and children die, “she said.
Speaking about the risks associated with women and children and minority groups during the war, Thomas-Greenfield described how a deputy mayor of a Ukrainian city recently told reporters “that some girls cut their hair short in hopes of avoiding rape. Russian troops. “
She noted that the United States is helping to fund projects to protect women and children in and around Ukraine.
The Security Council heard from Kateryna Cherepakha, President of La Strada-Ukraine, a group of human rights defenders for women. She told the council that her group had received reports of rapes committed against women and girls in cities occupied by Russian troops. She said Russian troops have used rape as a weapon of war.
She said in one case that a victim was raped in front of her family. She also noted that they will never get a complete picture of the total number of sexual crimes, as many of those who were attacked are dead and will not be able to report the crime committed against them.
She noted that female prisoners of war have been “subjected to torture, including sexual violence (and) undressing in front of male groups harassed and shamed.”
UNICEF’s director of emergency programs, Manuel Fontaine, told the council that during his 31 years of work in the humanitarian arena, he had “rarely seen so much damage caused in such a short time.”
Fontaine said that of the estimated 3.2 million children said to have stayed in their homes, nearly half were likely at risk of not getting enough food. He also noted that attacks on the water system and power outages have resulted in an estimated 1.4 million people not having access to water and a further 4.6 million having limited access to water.
He cited the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OHCHR) on the growing number of dead and injured children: “As of yesterday, the OHCHR has confirmed 142 children killed and 229 children injured. We know these numbers are likely to be much higher – – and many of them were caused by crossfire or the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. “
Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy withdrew, accusing Western members of the council of continuing to trigger an information war against his country.
He lamented that no evidence had been provided for all the charges against his country, and questioned the allegations made against Russian soldiers for the massacre of civilians in Bucha, as well as last week’s bombing of a railway station and other places where Polyanskiy claimed , that the fabrications had taken place.
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He then claimed that “the staging of the so-called atrocities of the Russian army is being carried out by British film directors.”
The British representative shot back at his Russian counterpart for his comments, calling such allegations a lie.
Lord Tariq Ahmad, the British Minister for the United Nations, told the Council that “Unfortunately, we have once again heard Russia try to divert from the facts, the reality on earth – muddy water – with what can only be described as quite extraordinary statements, and even “But what’s true, what’s the facts, is that Russian attacks on civilians and residential areas have been really barbaric.”
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The United Nations has so far met a dozen times about Ukraine since the eve of the Russian invasion and has failed to take any significant action to stop Russia’s aggression. Russia, as a permanent member of the Security Council, has a veto and was forced to use it in February, when the council demanded that Russia stop its invasion and immediately withdraw its troops.