On the International Children's Day, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy took part in a meeting of the Council on Issues Related to the Life and Safety of Children in Wartime and Postwar chaired by Andriy Yermak, Head of the Office of the President.
During the event, the President spoke in a video conference format with Ukrainian children temporarily staying in the Republic of Poland and with students of Drohobych Lyceum, among whom were residents of different regions of Ukraine.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy congratulated them on the Children's Day and stressed that the day of the return of all children to their homeland will be a great holiday for him personally.
"We will do everything we can to bring you all back. Bring all of you back as children, not adults. That is, bring you back soon. It is very important for us that you build our country and our future, because you are our beautiful future, for which we are all fighting today. Therefore, we will do everything to return you as soon as possible, but I want us to return you to a safe Ukraine," he said.
The President also noted that he is grateful to Poland and its people for providing good conditions for Ukrainian children.
During the conversation with the students of Drohobych Lyceum, Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that he was glad to have the opportunity to talk to smart children who ask serious questions. In particular, the President was asked about guaranteeing the security of Ukraine after the war, the participation of young people in the reconstruction of our country, the prospects for the resumption of a full-fledged educational process.
The main topic of the Council’s meeting was the development of a clear mechanism for recording the crimes of forced deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia and the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, identification of deported children in order to return them.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy was informed that as of today, 234,000 young Ukrainians have crossed the border with Russia, 4,795 children among them are identified.
Daria Herasymchuk, Adviser - President's Commissioner for Children's Rights and Children's Rehabilitation, said that the signing by the Russian President of a decree on a simplified regime of obtaining Russian citizenship by orphans and children deprived of parental care was an attempt to legalize the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children.
The need to maximize the use of international channels to monitor the status of children deported to Russia and to document the crimes committed against them was emphasized. International organizations should also be involved in the process of returning Ukrainian children home.
To make the search for children more effective, according to Daria Herasymchuk, it is necessary to combine data from the registers that exist in Ukraine and create a single register of children gone missing under special circumstances, including forcibly deported, displaced and missing children during the military Russian invasion of Ukraine.
"We have more than 150 registers. According to our analysis, the ten main registers give us a clear picture of where the children are. Therefore, we set ourselves the task of creating a joint register, which will find all children by personal identification. And we will be able to form a list of names of children whose whereabouts we do not know," she explained.
Based on these data, it will also be possible to obtain evidence of the genocide of the Ukrainian people, one of the signs of which is the forcible transfer of children from one national group to another.
Daria Herasymchuk added that such a register could be created on the basis of the law enforcement body of Ukraine.
Andriy Yermak said that a meeting with representatives of the G20 countries would be held in the President's Office in the near future to discuss, among other things, the issue of deportation of Ukrainian children.
The Council is also working on the concept of the information and communication portal "Children of War", which will publish daily information on how many children died and were injured as a result of hostilities in Ukraine. In addition, there will be information about the search for children from the National Police of Ukraine, the data of children who were deported to Russia. On this portal you can apply for a search for a child who is lost or deported, as well as submit information about other crimes against children.