UN envoy reportedly meeting Russian official accused of war crimes for deporting Ukrainian children

May 19, 2023, 12:28 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. envoy charged with trying to protect children caught in conflicts is in Moscow, where she is reported to be meeting Russia’s children’s rights commissioner, who is charged with war crimes for deporting children from Ukraine.

Human Rights Watch strongly criticized Virginia Gamba’s reported meeting with Maria Lvova-Belova, saying the Russian commissioner should be behind bars and not meeting with senior U.N. representatives.

“It’s hard to imagine any circumstance that would justify Gamba meeting with a suspected war criminal, when there are clearly other officials she could meet with instead,” Balkees Jarrah, associate director of the group’s International Justice Program, said.

U.N. associate spokesperson Stephanie Tremblay did not confirm that Gamba was meeting with Lvova-Belova while in Moscow. Pressed on whether there was anyone else Gamba could meet with, Tremblay replied: “Her role is really to do everything she can to improve the protection of children impacted by armed conflict and preventing violations that could be committed against them.”

The spokesperson also would not say whether Gamba was discussing the return of Ukrainian children, telling reporters that details will be included in her report to the U.N. Security Council, which is expected in early July. Gamba was in Ukraine last week to meet with officials there before traveling to Moscow.

In March, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Lvova-Belova and Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing them of abducting children from Ukraine.

The deportation of Ukrainian children following Russia’s Feb. 24, 2022, invasion is an emotional issue not only for the families but for millions of Ukrainians and their global supporters.

An Associated Press investigation published in October on Lvova-Belova’s involvement in the abduction of Ukrainian children found that an open effort to put Ukrainian children up for adoption in Russia was well under way.

The exact number of Ukrainian children taken to Russia has been difficult to determine. A statement posted on Twitter by Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador, Sergiy Kyslytsya, on April 5 said more than 19,500 children had been seized from their families or orphanages and forcibly deported.

In April, Lvova-Belova addressed an informal meeting of the U.N. Security Council by video link. Western ambassadors boycotted the meeting, which had been called by Russia.

She told the council that the children were taken for their safety and Moscow was coordinating with international organizations to return them to their families. She said Russia had taken in more than 5 million Ukrainians, including 700,000 children — all with parents, relatives or legal guardians except for 2,000 from orphanages in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas, where fighting has been intense.

By early April, she said, about 1,300 children had been returned to their orphanages, 400 were sent to Russian orphanages, and 358 were placed in foster homes. She insisted there had been no adoptions.

After visiting Ukraine, Gamba commended the Kyiv government for measures it has taken to protect children, who she said are disproportionately affected by the war.

“Children have been killed or maimed, their schools and hospitals have been attacked and the unbearable levels of violence they are experiencing daily is leaving deep scars that will last for a lifetime,” she said in a statement on May 14.

United States News

Associated Press

Police: Person of interest arrested in slaying of Detroit synagogue president

DETROIT (AP) — A person of interest has been arrested in connection with the fatal stabbing of a Detroit synagogue leader whose death after the start of the Israel-Hamas war prompted speculation the slaying could have been the result of antisemitism. But Police Chief James White has said the attack does not appear to be […]

38 minutes ago

File - Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, takes part in a discussion at the Asia-Pacific Ec...

Associated Press

Google antitrust trial focused on Android app store payments to be handed off to jury to decide

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal court jury is poised begin its deliberations in an antitrust trial focused on whether Google’s efforts to profit from its app store for Android smartphones have been illegally gouging consumers and stifling innovation. Before the nine-person jury in San Francisco starts weighing the evidence Monday, the lawyers on the […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Israel battles militants in Gaza’s main cities, with civilians trapped in the fighting

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli forces battled Palestinian militants in Gaza’s two largest cities on Monday, with civilians still trapped in the fighting even after hundreds of thousands have fled to other parts of the besieged territory. Israel has pledged to keep fighting until it removes Hamas from power, dismantles its military capabilities and […]

7 hours ago

The OnlyFans logo is seen on a computer monitor in this posed photo, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, in St....

Associated Press

Teachers have been outed for moonlighting in adult content. Do they have legal recourse?

At a small rural Missouri high school, two English teachers shared a secret: Both were posting adult content on OnlyFans, the subscription-based website known for sexually explicit content. The site and others like it provide an opportunity for those willing to dabble in pornography to earn extra money — sometimes lots of it. The money […]

10 hours ago

A gray wolf is seen in a trail camera image on the Sherman Creek Ranch, March 26, 2023, near Walden...

Associated Press

Embattled wolves gain a new frontier in Democratic Colorado. The move is stoking political tensions

DENVER, Colo. (AP) — Wildlife officials plan to release gray wolves in Colorado in coming weeks, at the behest of urban voters and to the dismay of rural residents who don’t want the predators but have waning influence in the Democratic-led state. The most ambitious wolf reintroduction effort in the U.S. in almost three decades […]

10 hours ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks about investment in rail projects, including high-speed electric ...

Associated Press

Biden heads to Philadelphia for firefighters and fundraising

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will join Philadelphia firefighters on Monday to announce federal funding that will reopen three fire companies, according to the White House. The companies — Engine 6, Ladder 1 and Ladder 11 — were decommissioned during the Great Recession. Union leaders have said the cutbacks hampered the city’s response to […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]


Midwestern University

Midwestern University: innovating Arizona health care education

Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus near Loop 101 and 59th Avenue is an established leader in health care education and one of Arizona’s largest and most valuable health care resources.



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

UN envoy reportedly meeting Russian official accused of war crimes for deporting Ukrainian children