Lukashenko throws kids party, including for abducted Ukrainian children

Lukashenko throws kids party, including for abducted Ukrainian children
/ bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews January 4, 2024

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko organised a New Year’s Eve party for kids, including children abducted by Russia from Ukraine, sparking international condemnation, Kyiv Independent reported on January 4.

Lukashenko has denied that any of the hundreds of children abducted by Russia during the war and resettled in Russia have arrived in Belarus. During an address to the 3,000 attendees of the kids party he said there were no "alien children" in Belarus.

"We should embrace these children, bring them to their homes, warm them and make their childhoods happier,” Lukashenko said.

However, Lukashenko's press office admitted that children from the Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts attended the New Year's bash alongside Belarusian children, chosen for their academic and artistic talents.

Ukraine's Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, reminded that Russia is systematically deporting Ukrainian children, transporting them through Belarus to homes and orphanages in Russia, making it challenging to locate them.

Lubinets alleged that Belarus might be a staging point before the children are taken to Russia, a claim supported by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office.

The National Anti-Crisis Management (NAM), an opposition organisation, submitted evidence to the International Criminal Court (ICC) that supports the view that Belarus is aiding Russia in the abduction of at least 2,100 Ukrainian children during Russia's war.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin’s arrest in March 2023, who is charged with the well documented kidnapping of children from Ukraine.

A Yale University study confirmed the NAM's findings, stating that over 2,400 Ukrainian children aged 6-17 have been brought to Belarus from occupied Ukrainian regions, reports Kyiv Independent.

PACE has called for the ICC to also issue an arrest warrant against Lukashenko on July 18 on the same grounds as that issued for Putin’s arrest.