US sanctions Russian officials for abduction of Ukrainian children

Washington DC - On Ukraine's Independence Day, the US government imposed sanctions and visa restrictions on Russian officials involved in the abduction of Ukrainian children.

President Biden has imposed sanctions on Russian officials involved in the abduction of Ukrainian children.
President Biden has imposed sanctions on Russian officials involved in the abduction of Ukrainian children.  © Collage: Mandel NGAN / AFP & Frederik Ringnes/NTB/via REUTERS

The US State Department announced on Thursday the sanctions on any Russian individuals "that have reportedly played a role in forcibly deporting Ukrainian children from Russia-occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia, and/or transferring Ukrainian children within Russia-occupied areas of Ukraine."

"Children are the most innocent victims of war: we have not forgotten Ukraine’s children," Washington said in an official statement.

The sanctions freeze the assets of any affected individuals residing in the US, as well as preventing them from doing business in the US. In some cases, visa restrictions were also imposed.

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Since the outbreak of Russia's war on Ukraine last February, Kyiv has repeatedly accused Moscow of abducting Ukrainian children. Russian authorities deny this and say they are evacuating, not deporting children.

In March, the International Criminal Court based in The Hague issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his children's rights commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova. They are both accused of war crimes, including the abduction of children from occupied Ukrainian territories.

President Biden honors Ukraine's Independence Day

President Joe Biden said in a written statement that the US was working with other countries to hold Russian forces accountable for these war crimes.

"These children have been stolen from their parents and kept apart from their families. It's unconscionable," Biden said.

Ukraine celebrated its independence since August 24, 1991, on Thursday. "I sincerely hope that next year, Ukrainians will be able to celebrate their Independence Day in peace and safety, knowing how their extraordinary courage inspired the world," Biden wrote.

Cover photo: Collage: Mandel NGAN / AFP & Frederik Ringnes/NTB/via REUTERS

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