New York Daily News
Teen taken to Russia in war is back home, Ukraine says
An orphaned Ukrainian teenager who was taken to Russia last year during the war in his country returned home after being reunited with relatives in Belarus on his 18th birthday Sunday.
Bohdan Yermokhin was pictured embracing family members in Minsk in photographs shared on social media by Russia’s children’s rights ombudswoman, Maria Lvova-Belova.
Andrii Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian president’s office, confirmed that Yermokhin had arrived back in Ukraine and shared a photo of him with a Ukrainian flag.
Yermak thanked UNICEF and Qatari negotiators for facilitating Yermokhin’s return.
Yermokhin’s parents died two years ago, before Russia invaded Ukraine. Early in the war, he was taken from the port city of Mariupol, where he lived with a cousin who was his legal guardian, placed with a foster family in the Moscow region and given Russian citizenship, according to Ukrainian lawyer Kateryna
Bobrovska, who represents the teenager and his 26-year-old cousin, Valeria Yermokhina, previously told The Associated Press that Yermokhin repeatedly expressed the desire to go home and had talked daily about “getting to Ukraine, to his relatives.”
Yermokhin was one of thousands of Ukrainian children taken to Russia from occupied regions of Ukraine.
The practice prompted the International Criminal Court in March to accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin and children’s rights ombudswoman Lvova-Belova of committing war crimes.
The court in The Hague, Netherlands, issued warrants for Putin and Lvova-Belova’s arrests, saying they found “reasonable grounds to believe” the two were responsible for the illegal deportation and transfer of children from Ukraine.
The Kremlin has dismissed the warrants as null and void. Lvova-Belova has argued that the children were taken to Russia for their safety, not abducted — a claim widely rejected by the international community.
Also Sunday, Russian drones targeted Kyiv as the British Defense Ministry said there were “few immediate prospects” for major change along the Ukrainian front line as the war enters its second winter.
Russia launched 20 Iranian-made Shahed drones overnight, targeting the Ukrainian capital and the Cherkasy and Poltava regions, according to a military statement.
Ukrainian anti-aircraft systems shot down 15 of the drones.
The overnight strike on Kyiv is the second attack on the Ukrainian capital in 48 hours, said the city’s Military Administration spokesperson, Serhii Popko. He said the drones attacked Kyiv from different directions in waves that were “constantly changing vectors.”
Preliminary reports indicated no casualties or critical damage, he said.