Britain slaps fresh sanctions on Putin ally accused of mass kidnap of Ukrainian children and head of Russian Orthodox Church
- UK sanctions Maria Lvova-Belova – Russia’s ‘Children’s Rights Commmissioner’
- She is accused of the forced abduction and adoption of Ukrainian children
- Sanctions also target head of the Russian Orthodox Church, another Putin ally
Britain today slapped fresh sanctions on an ally of Vladimir Putin who has been accused of overseeing a mass kidnap of Ukrainian children.
Maria Lvova-Belova, who holds the role of Russia’s ‘Children’s Rights Commmissioner’, is alleged to be involved in the forced abduction and adoption of Ukrainian children in Russia.
It has been claimed, during the course of Mr Putin’s invasion, that Ukrainian orphans are being taken from Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine with plans to make them Russian citizens.
Ukraine has accused Russia of deporting more than 232,000 children to its territory, with more than 2,000 of them orphaned or separated from their parents.
Kyiv has also hit out at moves by the Russian parliament to simplify the adoption of Ukrainian children by Russians.
The new British sanctions announced today by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss also target Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
He has been a long-time ally of Mr Putin and become one of the most prominent supports of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Other sanctions have been placed on the head of a Russian transport company, Russian military commanders, and Ukranian separatist leaders who are accused of collaborating with Russian forces in the Kherson region.
Ms Truss has also targeted arms dealers who supply Myanmar’s military junta.
Maria Lvova-Belova was pictured meeting with Vladimir Putin in early March, in the very first weeks of the Russian President’s barbaric assault on Ukraine
Patriarch Kirill embraced Mr Putin in April at an Easter service in Moscow. He has previously called Mr Putin’s rule over Russia as a ‘miracle of God’
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told MPs there could be no ‘appeasement’ with Mr Putin as his assault on Ukraine nears the four-month mark
The Foreign Office said the action would limit Myanmar’s heavy reliance on Russian air assets and prevent Moscow from profiting from arms sales that fund his war machine in Ukraine.
A recent Amnesty International report exposed the role of Russian arms in war crimes being commmited in Myanmar.
The Foreign Secretary said: ‘Today we are targeting the enablers and perpetrators of Putin’s war who have brought untold suffering to Ukraine, including the forced transfer and adoption of children.
‘We will not tire of defending freedom and democracy, and keeping up the pressure on Putin, until Ukraine succeeds.’
Ms Lvova-Belova is accused of enabling 2,000 vulnerable children to be violently taken from Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions and orchestrating a new policy to facilitate their forced adoptions in Russia.
She was pictured meeting with Mr Putin in early March, in the very first weeks of the Russian President’s barbaric assault on Ukraine.
They met to discuss changes to the law to allow Russians to adopt Ukrainian children.
Their meeting came on the same day that a Russian air strike devastated a maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol.
As he set out his intent to change Russian laws on adoption, Mr Putin urged people to think about ‘the interests of children’.
Patriarch Kirill embraced the Russian President in April at an Easter service in Moscow.
He has previously called Mr Putin’s rule over Russia as a ‘miracle of God’ and cited gay pride parades as part of the reason for the invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking in the House of Commons today, Ms Truss condemned the ‘targeting of British citizens’ by ‘Russian proxies’.
It follows the sentencing to death of British nationals Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner by a Russian proxy court in eastern Ukraine.
She said: ‘Russian proxies are breaching the Geneva convention on prisoners of war, including the targeting of British citizens. I utterly condemn these actions.
‘And we’re working through the Ukrainian authorities to secure their release and hold Russia to account.’
The Foreign Secretary also dismissed suggestions that the West could begin to seek ‘appeasement’ with Mr Putin or even dial down support for Ukraine, as the conflict with Russia reaches the almost four-month mark.
‘We are now approaching a critical moment. Russia is bombarding towns and cities in the east,’ she added.
‘And some outside Ukraine are questioning whether the free world can sustain its support, and claiming that some are beginning to tire of this war.
‘The people of Ukraine do not have that luxury, our answer must be clear, we will never tire of defending freedom and democracy.
‘Russian aggression cannot be appeased. It will be met with strength.’
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