An international conference dedicated to the abduction of Ukrainian children by Russia took place in Italy

An international conference dedicated to the abduction of Ukrainian children by Russia took place in Italy - фото 1
Udine hosted an international Italian-Ukrainian conference, "Beyond War: Hands Off Children". It focused on the tragedy of Ukrainian children deported from the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine.

It was noted that Ukraine has documented almost 20,000 such cases, while the Russian side is hiding information about this war crime. These children are subjected to various kinds of violence. They are being indoctrinated, and their documents and citizenship are forcibly replaced with Russian ones.

These facts were reported by Deputy Ambassador of Ukraine to the Holy See Serhiy Kozachevsky and Advisor to the Ombudsman of Ukraine Oleksandra Dvoretska, who joined the event online from Rome and Kyiv, respectively.

The conference was opened by organizer Giovanni Abriola and moderated by Paolo Mosanghini, vice director of "Messaggero Veneto" magazine.

The conference was attended by children of the Ukrainian refugee association "Territory of Good" in Udine, as well as the Archbishop of Udine, Monsignor Riccardo Lamba, and Archpriest Volodymyr Melnychuk of the Italian Orthodox Diocese.

Also present was international human rights expert, journalist and writer Eugenia Benigni, who emphasized the role of diplomacy in this tragic event.

The international online conference was also attended by Fr. Pavlo Vyshkovsky, rector of St. Nicholas Parish in Kyiv, who shared his own tragic childhood memories:

"My childhood story is the same as that of many young Ukrainians now experiencing the dark years of the Russian dictatorship through deportation, violence, poverty and moral impoverishment. Like many others, I went through suffering. At the age of 11, at school, the communists took away my winter jacket to "punish" me for going to the Christmas Eucharist on the night of December 25. I lost my hearing after this, and only through faith did I overcome the pain and oppression I often experienced."

Fr. Pavlo also told the audience about the painful issue of St. Nicholas Church:

"Unfortunately, the consequences of communism are still quite strongly evident in the officials' mentality and actions. The church of St. Nicholas, which has not yet been returned to the parish, is one of the examples. Despite having documented its commitment to return the church twice, the Ministry of Culture has not kept its word."

"Today, more than ever, I am concerned about finding everything necessary to help the families that have been dismembered by these two years of war. The situation is becoming more and more dramatic. It is hard to describe how much our country is physically changing, how much everyone's perception is changing, and especially how much families are suffering when their loved ones die every day. Our days are marked by the blaring of sirens, the roar of explosions, and news of the killed and missing. The people, though armed with good intentions, are still defenseless in the face of the bombs' firepower. The lack of proper support for children now will seriously impact their personalities in the future," the priest emphasized in his speech.