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UN: US, UK Walk Out As Russian Envoy Addresses Meeting On Ukrainian Children

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As Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, addressed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday, The United States, Britain, Albania and Malta left the meeting. Belova is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

Russia held an informal meeting on Ukraine to discuss “evacuating children from conflict zones,” but Britain and the United States prevented the UN from broadcasting it online.

As Russian Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova spoke in the UN conference room where the discussion was taking place, the diplomats departed.

The webcast was blocked by the United States and Britain, according to US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, so Lvova-Belova would not have “an international podium to spread disinformation and to try to defend her horrible actions that are taking place in Ukraine.”

Last month, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest order for Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, and Lvova-Belova, charging them with illegally deporting children from Ukraine and smuggling people into Russia from Ukraine since the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022.

Moscow claimed that because Russia did not ratify the agreement creating the ICC, the orders were illegal.

Moscow hasn’t tried to hide the existence of a programme that it has used to import thousands of Ukrainian children, but it prefers to portray it as a charitable effort to help orphans and abandoned children in conflict areas.

According to Lvova-Belova, approximately 5 million Ukrainians—including 700,000 children—have visited Russia since February 2022.

She added that about 1,300 of the 2,000 children who came from orphanages with custodians had since returned to Ukraine, while 400 were now in Russian orphanages and 358 were put in Russian foster homes.

“Russia claims it is protecting these children,” Asima Ghazi-Bouillon, a British diplomat, entered the room after Lvova-Belova finished speaking and addressed the group, stating that this is actually a calculated strategy that aims to eradicate Ukrainian identity and statehood.

“I want to stress that unlike the Ukrainian side, we don’t use children for propaganda,” Lvova-Belova said after showing a video of Ukrainian children in Russia.

Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s representative to the United Nations, told reporters last month that the informal gathering had been scheduled for a long time prior to the ICC’s announcement and that it was not meant to refute the accusations made against Putin and Lvova-Belova.

It is uncommon for a UN webcast to be stopped, according to diplomats. However, China last month prevented the United Nations from broadcasting an informal Security Council conference on North Korea’s human rights violations that the United States had called.

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