Olena Zelenska asks for help from world leaders to return 19 thousand kidnapped Ukrainian children

Olena Zelenska / Photo EPA-EFE/IDA MARIE ODGAARD

Ukraine's first lady has called on world leaders to help return Ukrainian children forcibly taken to Russia, where she said they have been indoctrinated and stripped of their national identity, AFP reports.

Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Olena Zelenska said more than 19.000 Ukrainian children had been forcibly transferred or deported to Russia or occupied territories.

Only 386 have been returned so far.

"In Russia, they are told that their parents don't need them, that their country doesn't need them, that no one is waiting for them. The kidnapped children were told that they are no longer Ukrainian children, that they are Russian children," said Zelenska.

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