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Ukrainian President Zelensky imposes sanctions on 37 groups, 108 individuals over wartime crimes involving child abduction

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has imposed sanctions on 37 Russian entities and 108 individuals, including a former prime minister and a former education minister, aimed at fighting child abductions and other types of crimes he calls “Russian terror. ” Said. In his address, he commented, “We are increasing the pressure of our state on them, and each of them must be held accountable for their actions,” after the relevant order bearing his signature was issued from his office.

While Zelensky did not explicitly name specific individuals or groups engaged in wrongdoing, the order outlined penalties of up to ten years in prison for individuals and up to five years for non-profit groups, Which also included a group referred to in English as the “Russian Children’s Foundation”. ,

He said the list included “people involved in the abduction and expulsion of Ukrainian children from the occupied territory” and individuals who “assist Russian terror against Ukraine in various ways.”

The newly sanctioned individuals included several people holding Russian citizenship who had previously faced different or similar penalties. Those sanctioned included former Minister of Education and Science Dmytro Tabachnik, whose Ukrainian citizenship was revoked in February, and former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.

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Previously, along with former President Viktor Yanukovych, Azarov faced confiscation and asset confiscation, among other penalties. Both men fled Russia after a crackdown on street protests in 2014 resulted in the deaths of more than 100 protesters in Kiev.

Other individuals punished on Saturday included Sergei Aksyonov, the Russia-appointed leader of Crimea, and Leonid Pasechnik, whom Putin appointed as the head of Luhansk, the eastern Ukrainian region annexed by Russia in 2022.

The sanctioned Russian entities include several whose names or websites suggest involvement with children.

One such sanctioned group was Kvartal Louis, an organization whose website states its founder is Child Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova, who was subject to sanctions by Kyiv in October 2022.

This month, the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant against Lvova-Belova, along with President Vladimir Putin, accusing her of war crimes of forcibly displacing children from Ukraine.

Zelensky’s new list also includes sanctions against Sofia Lvova-Belova, the executive director of Kvartal Lui. Their older sister, Maria Lvova-Belova, has claimed that the children were transferred to protect them from violence and has denied any involvement in committing war crimes.

Kiev alleges that approximately 20,000 children have been transported to Russia or Russian-occupied territories without the consent of their families or guardians, an act considered a war crime in accordance with the UN convention’s definition of genocide. Is.

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