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Lukashenko is going to The Hague. Because of the Ukrainian children

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Recently, a report on the abduction of Ukrainian children and their transfer to Belarus was published by the Americans. Pavel Latushka informed DW that Belarusian democratic emigration communities have already submitted a second communication package to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Mr. Ambassador, what information is available regarding the children abducted from Ukraine and taken to Belarus?

The National Anti-Crisis Management has been gathering information on the cooperation between the Lukashenko regime and Russia in this matter for the past six months. According to our data, children were transported to Belarus from approximately 20 occupied Ukrainian cities and towns in groups ranging from several dozen to 350 children.

This information is also confirmed by Yale University in the United States. On November 16, the Humanitarian Research Laboratory of the university's School of Public Health published a report stating that nearly 2,500 children were illegally trafficked to Belarus from the occupied territories of Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson regions.

This November report builds upon the findings of the February report regarding the displacement of Ukrainian children to Russian territory, their subsequent adoption, and the issuance of arrest warrants for Maria Lvova-Belova and Vladimir Putin. The new report expands on the involvement of the Lukashenko regime in this matter.

Were these children transported through Russian territory? Was there no other route?

Based on our knowledge, they were transported by train through Rostov-on-Don to Minsk and then to various camps in Belarus. According to the US, there are 13 such locations in Belarus, of which we are aware of six.

Could you provide the names of any of these camps?

The most significant one is the Dubrava camp in the Soligorsk district of the Minsk region. It serves as a recreational center for the Belaruskali company, a major producer of potash fertilizers based in Soligorsk. The head of the company is Senator Ivan Golovaty, who is also the godfather of Lukashenko's youngest son, Nikolai. According to Yale University's report, more than two thousand children were deported from Ukraine to Dubrava.

What age group do these children belong to?

They range from 6 to 17 years old.

What happened to them once they arrived in Belarus?

They underwent a process of re-education in line with the "Russian world" ideology. This was carried out by propagandists of the Lukashenko regime, who collaborated with organizations such as the pro-government Belarusian Republican Youth Union and the Russian motorcycle club Night Wolves.

What did it actually entail?

For instance, Belarusian celebrities, the Gruzdeva sisters, and singers performed for the children in Dubrava. During the performance, they expressed the following wishes for the children: "May we live in peace. And may Biden die. And Zelensky too. And God bless Putin."

The Yale report also revealed that six groups of Ukrainian children had undergone military training in Belarus. At least several dozen abducted children were identified as orphans taken from Ukrainian orphanages. We have managed to establish their identities. Our legal experts believe that these facts are sufficient to classify these actions as war crimes.

What are the implications of these findings?

In accordance with Article 15 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, we have reported these crimes to the ICC twice, on June 27 and November 7. We submitted evidence to the prosecutor's office, corroborating the deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children from the occupied regions of Ukraine to Belarus, as well as the adoption of Ukrainian orphans who were subsequently sent from Belarus to Russia. We have also shared these materials with the Ukrainian Prosecutor General, who is conducting a criminal case related to the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children to Belarus.

What are your objectives in filing these applications with the Court in The Hague?

Firstly, we aim to put an end to the criminal acts against Ukrainian children. Secondly, we seek to ensure their safe return to Ukraine. Lastly, our third goal is to obtain an arrest warrant for Lukashenko as a Russian accomplice in these war crimes.

Is Lukashenko the only individual targeted?

No, there are four more individuals we seek to bring to The Hague. First and foremost is Senator Ivan Holovaty, the director of the Belaruskali company. Next is Dmitry Mezentsev, the former Russian Ambassador to Belarus and current Secretary of State of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. We also intend to pursue legal action against Olga Volkova, a Russian national and the head of the Dolphin Foundation. This foundation operates in the occupied territories of Ukraine, searching for children and sending them to Belarus.

Additionally, we are requesting the prosecution of Paralympic athlete Alexei Talay, who heads a foundation named after him and has close ties to Lukashenko, having received various awards from him. Talay was recently awarded the Medal of Friendship by Putin. Talay has publicly acknowledged his involvement in the transfer of Ukrainian children to Belarus. On the foundation's website, there is a video in which Talay tells a young boy from Mariupol, "One day, you will live in a great Russia that stretches from Brest to Vladivostok." It is worth noting that Talay is a citizen of Belarus and speaks of Russia "spreading from Brest to Vladivostok"!

Is the Russification of Ukrainian children in Belarus an initiative by Lukashenko or an order from Putin?

According to American experts, Lukashenko should have coordinated these actions with Putin. Our information also supports this claim. In response to our initial evidence, which we submitted to the Court in The Hague on June 27, Lukashenko confirmed that he had contacted Putin and reached an agreement to bring Ukrainian children to Belarus. However, we are aware that Ukrainian children were already in Belarus prior to the full-scale war between Russia and Lukashenko against Ukraine. For example, they had already been present at the Zubrenok camp in the Minsk region in 2021. Furthermore, we know that some of the children who were taken at that time were transported to Russia and subjected to adoption procedures there.


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