Having taken over the one-month Presidency of the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) on Apr. 1, it only took four days for the Russian Federation to misuse its position, as Ukraine and many others predicted it would.
On Apr. 5 it initiated an informal meeting of the UNSC during which they gave an opportunity for the Russian Commissioner for Children's Rights, Maria Levova-Belova, to remotely address the council via video link. An arrest warrant had been issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Mar. 17 for her and the Russian President for the unlawful deportation and transfer of children during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
There is evidence that Russian authorities have detained and forcibly deported almost 20,000 Ukrainian children from their homes in Ukraine to Russia. Levova-Belova is considered, by Ukraine, to be the prime mover for the policy.
Russia convened the informal UNSC meeting to focus on what Russia referred to as "evacuation of children from conflict zones", in what was seen as a thinly-veiled attempt by Russia to justify its action in Ukraine.
The U.K. and the U.S. blocked the U.N. website from broadcasting the meeting on. The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told reporters before the meeting that Washington was opposed to "a woman who has been charged with war crimes, who has been involved in deporting and removal of children from their homes to Russia, being given any platform to defend the actions.”
The U.S., U.K., Albania, and Malta ambassadors also defiantly left the UN Security Council chamber in protest at Lvova-Belova's speech.
The attempts of lvova-Belova to try to defend herself, against the charges brought by the ICC and to justify her actions, demonstrates the vulnerability of the Russian position and the Kremlin's awareness of the inevitability of being held responsible for its crimes. lvova-Belova denies the adoption and re-education of Ukrainian children, in open contradiction of her earlier statements.
The British mission to the U.N. issued a statement on Twitter, which said: " If Maria Lvova-Belova wants to give an account of her actions, she can do so in the Hague [seat of the ICC court]."
Fifty countries have signed a statement against the Kremlin's spread of disinformation concerning the illegal abduction and forced deportation of Ukrainian children, which reads: "The Russian Federation will seek to present its actions in Ukraine as in line with international law, children’s rights, and the Children and Armed Conflict agenda. This could not be farther from the truth. The facts are clear."
The document also cites evidence collected by the Ukrainian authorities which identifies the removal of around 19,500 Ukrainian children from Russian-occupied territories. It is on the basis of this and other evidence provided by international organizations and that the ICC has issued arrest warrants for Lvova-Belova and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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