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Vladimir Putin has met with his ‘children’s rights commissioner’ in Moscow at the same time as shelling a maternity hospital in Mariupol in his latest vile display of hypocrisy.
The Russian leader spoke with Maria Lvova-Belova at the Kremlin today after overseeing a savage two-week campaign in Ukraine which has seen children killed, orphaned or forced to flee their homes.
Putin held the meeting to discuss changes to the law which will allow Russians to adopt Ukrainian orphans, after his forces killed their parents.
The changes will mean children from Donetsk and Luhansk who do not have Russian citizenship will qualify for adoption.
Putin said in the meeting: ‘These are extraordinary circumstances and it seems to me that we need to think not about bureaucratic delays, but about the interests of children.
Vladimir Putin has met with his ‘children’s rights commissioner’ Maria Lvova-Belova in Moscow today
Devastating images show the father of an 18-month-old boy named Kirill running into a hospital in Ukraine with his dying son in Mariupol
A maternity hospital in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol has suffered ‘colossal’ damage after a ‘direct hit’ by Russian rocket artillery that left children buried in the rubble (pictured, a badly damaged room at the hospital)
A man holds a young boy after the city of Irpin was completely destroyed by Russian forces
Children hide in a bomb shelter in Mariupol which has been bombarded incessantly by Putin’s men
A mother and two children were killed and the father was wounded by a mortar shell in Irpin near Kyiv on Sunday as hundreds of civilians sought safety
‘I will make proposals, we will change the legislation. We will appeal to the State Duma, I am sure that the deputies will support you.’
Lvova-Belova said 1,090 orphans have been evacuated to Russia from the two republics.
An estimated one million children have been forced to flee Ukraine since the barbaric invasion was launched.
In besieged Mariupol, where a six-year-old girl died of thirst after a blockade cut access to water, food and electricity, a rocket attack targeted a maternity hospital today.
Zelensky posted a video showing the badly damaged hospital building, filmed from the window of a destroyed ward room, as other footage showed injured families force to evacuate into the freezing afternoon as snow fell on the rubble-strewn ground around them.
Putin held the meeting to discuss changes to the law which will allow Russians to adopt Ukrainian orphans, after his forces killed their parents
Wounded families and patients evacuate from a badly-damaged building at the hospital. Local officials said the damage was ‘colossal’ and were not able to give an immediate number on the wounded and dead
President Zelensky described the attack as an ‘atrocity’, accusing world leaders of being ‘accomplice to terror’ by refusing to take out incoming Russian rockets
‘Direct strike of Russian troops at the maternity hospital. People, children are under the wreckage. Atrocity! How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror? Close the sky right now! Stop the killings! You have power but you seem to be losing humanity,’ he tweeted.
The local city council said the hospital had suffered ‘colossal’ damage but did not immediately give a figure of the wounded and dead.
It came just hours after Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister, warned that 3,000 babies trapped in the city by Russian bombardment are without food or medicines and begged for a humanitarian corridor.
Moscow had promised a ceasefire in the city today to evacuate civilians, but failed for the fourth time to keep its word.
Polish soldiers hold Ukrainian refugees after they crossed the border during snowfall to Medyka, Poland
A member of the military holds a young child’s hands as civilians flee the country after two weeks of sustained attacks from Russia
Over one million people have arrived in Poland from Ukraine since the Russian invasion and some are journeying on to other countries in Europe
A baby is evacuated as people flee near a destroyed bridge to cross the Irpin River, on the outskirts of Kyiv, as Russian forces try to surround it in ahead of an attack
Natasha Sivek carries her two-month-old grandson Meron shortly after she and other family members, including her daughter, walked into Poland
Women and children arrive from war-torn Ukraine on a snowy day at the Medyka border crossing
UNICEF spokesperson James Elder has labelled the mass exodus of a million children from Ukraine ‘a dark historical first.’
Children represent around half of the more than two million people that have fled the war in the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. #
There have even been cases of children having to make the journey alone.
Most of those fleeing the war have entered countries on Ukraine’s western border, like Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Moldova.
The majority have gone into Poland, where 1.33 million refugees have crossed according to the Polish Border Guard agency.
Moldova Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita told CNN on Sunday that one in every eight children in her country is a refugee.
While very young children may not grasp that their lives have been upended, older ones are aware of their hardship and risk suffering the psychological trauma of war and seeking refuge, experts say.
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