Children's Ombudsman of the Russian Federation Maria Lvova-Belova, whose arrest warrant was issued by a court in The Hague, in an interview with the American edition of Vice said that Russia, by issuing passports to Ukrainian children, does not cancel Ukrainian citizenship, but supplements it:
“The citizenship of Ukraine remains with them. We are not canceling it. We do not replace - we complement, we enable. What is this about the erasure of identity? When, I am sure that in your environment there are many people who have two citizenships.
Also, as part of the interview, Belova stated that she did not consider herself a war criminal: “I am a mother, and that says it all. What a war criminal I am, what are you talking about.
Lvova-Belova acknowledged that many children were separated from their parents:
“Indeed, several thousand children from the shelled areas of Kherson, Zaporozhye and Kharkov regions were sent free of charge to rest in camps in Russia in agreement with their parents. Then there was a shift in the front line. Part of the parents really remained on the side of Ukraine, and this made it difficult to take the children home.”
In March, the International Court of Justice in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin and Lvova-Belova. According to the court, they are responsible for the illegal deportation of children from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the territory of the Russian Federation, which is a war crime.
In an interview with Vice, Belova said that children were taken out from under shelling, therefore she considers these actions not deportation, but evacuation: “Under the Geneva Convention, we can evacuate children from areas where their life or health is in danger.”