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Finnish police investigates into Russian woman’s children disappearance from shelter

September 25, 2016, 14:34 UTC+3 HELSINKI

Finnish Pohjanlainen writes the case may be qualified as kidnapping only if the children leave the country

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© Yuri Belinsky/TASS

HELSINKI, September 25. /TASS/. Finland’s central criminal police investigate into taking of Russian children from a shelter in Seinaejoki to Helsinki, TASS was told on Sunday.

Head of the investigation told TASS "as yet I can only confirm we are checking whether the children had been taken from the shelter without permission."

Finnish Pohjanlainen writes the case may be qualified as kidnapping only if the children leave the country. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said if children are taken from a family, the parents do not have rights to take them back.

Finnish human rights activist Johan Backman said "we are speaking about Russian citizens, who live permanently in Karelia (west Russia), and who visited Finland as they had visas. Naturally, they have the right to return home. I believe, Russia and Finland should have mechanisms to settle situations of the kind. In cases Russian children are taken in Finland, the Russian side should have the right to demand they are transferred to Russia."

Earlier, he said about talks with the Finnish authorities how to return the Russian children back home.

How it all began

Several days earlier, Russian national Viktoriya Medvedeva told TASS she is concerned over how her three children seized by Finland’s authorities are being treated in a shelter.

Two twin siblings and their elder sister were taken away and placed in a children’s shelter some 30 kilometers from Seinaejoki earlier this month. "The children are ill and that’s why I want them to be back home as soon as possible. The shelter where they are staying does not have the best reputation even among the Finns," Medvedeva said.

"The floor is cold there, and the food given to them raises questions - they get potatoes and sausages, and there is not talk about a soup. During the dinner they are given cold milk and a bread roll with butter and cheese. The children are not under control - the elder one tried to look after the siblings, but they scold her for that," she said.

The mother said that all of her three children have some health problems and she planned to take them to a hospital in Russia. Her five-year-old son desperately needs medical examination, but this is impossible due to the latest incident, Medvedeva said, stressing that she did not understand the reasons for taking the children away from her.

Medvedeva has been staying in Finland since 2011 and has a working visa that expired in April. She earlier visited Russia while the children stayed with her ex-husband who should have brought the children to her on the border but failed to do that. The mother returned to Finland on September 5 and the husband did not know about her arrival.

"That day the social services came to our place and took the children away giving no explanation. I don’t know the reason and if any actions of the husband could have led to this," she added.

The woman confirmed that the representatives of Russia’s authorities have already contacted with her, but they give no forecast on how the situation can be solved. Medvedeva is allowed to see her children only three times per week.

Russia’s diplomats hope that the situation will be resolved as soon as possible, a spokesperson for Russia’s embassy told TASS on Wednesday. "The Russian diplomats are maintaining contacts with both parents of the children who have been taken under supervision by the Finnish social service. They receive the necessary consular assistance, they are provided with competent legal assistance," she said.

The Russian consular staff members are in contact with the Finnish social service that is investigating the case. "We expect that the situation will be resolved as soon as possible and the priority is to ensure the rights of children," Vezhlivtseva stressed.

This is not the first such case reported in Finland. The country’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has earlier said that children are not taken away from parents because of their nationality and this measure is used only in extreme cases. The Finnish social services say this is done for the good of children who are usually returned to the family after investigations into all the circumstances.

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