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Head of the Estonian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Liisa Pakosta submitted a draft Statement for the parliamentary proceedings to the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) on behalf of 79 members of the Riigikogu. The draft Statement condemns the deliberate and systematic deportation of children from Ukraine by Russia and Belarus in violation of international law, and requests the release of the deported children and the ensuring of their safe return to Ukraine.

The members of the Riigikogu point out that the deliberate and systematic deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia and Belarus is a war crime and genocide under international law. They say that the aim of Russia and Belarus is to destroy the Ukrainian nation and identity by killing, wounding, traumatising and relocating Ukrainian children. During the war of aggression started by the Russian Federation in 2014, hundreds of thousands of children have been taken from the territories of Ukraine to Russia.

In the draft Statement, the Riigikogu strongly condemns the deliberate and systematic deportation of children from Ukraine by Russia and Belarus in violation of international law, as well as Russia’s decision to grant citizenship to Ukrainian children under a simplified procedure, with the aim of forcibly changing their identity and assimilating them into Russia’s society.

The Riigikogu demands that Russia and Belarus release the children deported from Ukraine and ensure their safe return to Ukraine, and calls on all states to assist in the return to Ukraine of the children deported to Russia and Belarus and to cooperate in this effort.

In the draft Statement, the Riigikogu expresses support to the 10-point peace plan proposed by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which includes the return of the persons deported to Russia and Belarus, and acknowledges the establishment of an international coalition focusing on the return of the children. The Riigikogu also acknowledges the work of the International Criminal Court in fighting against impunity, in particular the arrest warrants issued in March 2023 against the President of the Russian Federation and Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights on charges of illegal deportation and resettlement of Ukrainian children.

Exhibition of pictures drawn by Ukrainian children will be opened at the Riigikogu

In order to draw attention to Russia’s war crimes against Ukrainian children, Pakosta and the Ambassador of Ukraine to Estonia Maksym Kononenko will open an exhibition of drawings and toys made by Ukrainian war refugee children staying in Estonia in the Conference Hall of the Riigikogu today. Representatives of the Ukrainian community will also participate in the opening ceremony, which will start at 1 p.m., and there will be a musical performance by pupils of the Freedom School of Estonia.

The exhibition features Ukrainian children’s drawings on wooden plates, depicting their pets who had to be left back home because of the war. Anatoly Lyutyuk, founder of the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Tallinn, offered the children the opportunity for art therapy, and also made wooden figures of the pets to help the children feel a connection with their homeland and keep alive the hope of returning home.

The exhibition “Tallinn’s Ark – Drawings and Toys by Ukrainian Refugee Children” will be open in the Conference Hall of the Riigikogu until 22 February.

The Riigikogu has issued seven statements in support of Ukraine

Since the beginning of 2022, the Riigikogu has adopted seven Statements and one Communication to condemn Russia’s activities and to express support to Ukraine. The Riigikogu has also recognised the actions committed by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the military aggression against Ukraine as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian nation, and has declared Russia a terrorist regime and the Russian Federation a state sponsor of terrorism, whose actions must be confronted together. The Riigikogu has also supported the establishment of a centre for investigating Russia’s crime of aggression by the European Union in The Hague, called on the countries of the world to contribute in every way to the activities of the centre, and to continue with efforts to set up an international special tribunal.

In May last year, the Riigikogu adopted the Statement in support of Ukraine’s wish to join NATO as the only way to ensure a rules-based world order, lasting peace and the security of the democratic countries of Europe. In June, the Riigikogu adopted a Statement in which it demanded holding to account individually those involved in planning, preparation, launching and committing the crime of aggression against Ukraine, and called on establishing for this a special international tribunal under the auspices of the UN.

Riigikogu Press Service
Karin Kangro
+372 631 6356, +372 520 0323
[email protected]
Questions: [email protected]

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