Volodymyr Zelensky’s words came at an international conference on children’s rights in Kyiv on Wednesday, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s polskieradio24.pl website reported.
Entitled UA: War. Unsung Lullaby, the event was held ahead of International Children’s Day, according to news outlets.
It brought together officials and diplomats, as well as representatives from European human-rights institutions, who participated in discussions via video link, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
During the conference, Poland's Children’s Ombudsman Mikołaj Pawlak and Ukraine’s Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets presented a report on Russian crimes against children.
Zelensky thanks Poland for helping child victims of Russian crimes
In his speech to the Kyiv event, Zelensky said that Russia’s mass deportation of children from the occupied areas of Ukraine represented “a crime against humanity.”
The Ukrainian president added: “I would like to thank Poland for its assistance. I would like to thank the ombudspersons from Poland and Ukraine for their efforts on their international stage to support child victims of Russian crimes.”
Poland’s Pawlak told the conference that during its ongoing full-scale invasion of Ukraine, "Russia has destroyed thousands of education and health facilities” that “need to be rebuilt” as part of the postwar reconstruction of Ukraine.
Pawlak added: “I have appealed to European Union bodies for help in the reconstruction of schools, kindergartens and children’s hospitals in Ukraine that have been destroyed by the invaders.”
The Polish children’s ombudsman also said he had decorated Ukraine’s commissioner for human rights “for services to the protection of children’ rights.”
Pawlak said that Ukraine’s Lubinets “has managed to wrestle some 400 abducted children from Moscow’s hands.’
Russia killed almost 500 Ukrainian children: Zelensky
Zelensky said that Russia was depriving children in his country “of the most important right - the right to live.”
He told the Kyiv conference that Russia has so far killed “at least 483 children” in Ukraine, adding that these were “only the documented cases.”
The Ukrainian president stated: “Russia killed 483 children at least. It killed them. This is not something that can be called ‘they were victims of Russian aggression’ or ‘they died as a result of the armed conflict.’ No, Russia killed these children.”
Zelensky added: “Russia maimed almost a thousand more children. And this cannot be described as ‘they were injured as a result of hostilities.’"
Meanwhile, some 19,500 Ukrainian children have been abducted by Russia, according to the latest estimates.
The Polish government on Wednesday announced a number of policies to help Ukraine repatriate children that have been forcibly deported to Russia.
In February, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the head of the European Union’s executive Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, launched an initiative aimed at bringing back Ukrainian children that have been abducted by Russia.
In March, the International Criminal Court in the Hague issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of being responsible for the war crimes of “unlawful deportation of children and unlawful transfer of people from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia.”
Thursday is day 463 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Source: IAR, PAP, polskieradio24.pl, president.gov.ua