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About 400 orphans evacuated from new regions placed with Russian families — ombudsperson

Maria Lvova-Belova stressed that she was ready to work toward reuniting the children with next of kin in Ukraine if such relatives make themselves known

MOSCOW, March 20. /TASS/. As many as 380 orphans from Russia’s new regions have been placed with Russian families, Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights Maria Lvova-Belova said on Monday.

The ombudsperson stressed that she was ready to work toward reuniting the children with next of kin in Ukraine if such relatives make themselves known. "As of today, 380 children [are] with families in 19 regions of our country," Lvova-Belova told the Soloviev Live TV channel.

"These are children who had been institutionalized in social services facilities for a long time. None of them have been separated from their parents, first of all, and second, if we understand that [their] legal guardians have been located, we will immediately do everything we can to reunite these families," she stressed.

According to the children's ombudsperson, as of now, 15 children from eight families have been reunited with relatives from Ukraine. "As soon as we are alerted to this, we immediately begin working through it. It was a little sad when we were approached by a father, three of whose children were in the Moscow Region. We organized his arrival and return trip back to Ukraine together with the children within 24 hours. Now he’s in Ukraine and giving interviews to everyone about how difficult it was. Even from a strictly human point of view, it's an unseemly [way to behave]," Lvova-Belova said.

She said the decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to issue a warrant for her arrest was based on "myths, speculation and some stories they cooked up themselves." "They won’t listen. We've been explaining it, talking about what's happening and why," the children's ombudsperson said.

On Saturday, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova.

The ICC statement said they could be responsible "for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation."

Commenting on the decision, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that Moscow did not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC. In turn, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the decisions of the ICC had no authority for Russia whatsoever, while the potential arrest warrants would be legally void.