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Russia releases four Ukrainian children after mediation by Qatar

Russia releases four Ukrainian children after mediation by Qatar

KYIV — Russia has agreed to free four Ukrainian children — ranging in age from 2 to 17 — and allow them to return them to their families in Ukraine after Qatar intervened as a mediator, according to a government official briefed on the matter. Two of the children are now back with relatives and two others are expected to be reunited with their families in the coming days, the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic negotiations, said.

Qatar’s role in the negotiations, which lasted several months, came at the request of the Ukrainian government.

The Ukrainian children passed through Qatar’s Embassy in Moscow and took different routes home. Some traveled or were scheduled to travel from Russia to Ukraine via Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Others went through Belarus.

The travel arrangements involved several types of transport, including diplomatic convoy, train and a privately chartered plane through Qatar, the official said.

“We welcome today’s positive news, about the reunification of children with their families in Ukraine through Qatari mediation efforts,” Lolwah Al-Khater, Qatar’s minister of state for international cooperation said in a statement. In recent weeks, Qatari officials have been in “continuous dialogue with our Ukrainian and Russian counterparts,” she said.

The reunifications mark a major development in what has become one of the most contentious and sensitive issues since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

They also shine a diplomatic spotlight on Qatar. The small Persian Gulf country has often served as a key negotiator in global crises and could play an outsize role in negotiations regarding the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip.

Read the complete article here.

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