"Russia is ready to take children from the southeastern regions of Ukraine, where fighting is now going on, but there are obstacles to that," Russian presidential children's rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said.
"We are ready to take all people. The territories close to the border, the Belgorod, Voronezh, and Kursk regions, are ready to accommodate these children. We are ready to send them to Crimea. However, the problem is that these are children of a foreign state, Ukraine, and they can't be taken out of the country illegally. We will be accused of child abduction," Astakhov said in an interview with Rossiya-24 television on Wednesday.
"For this reason, we are now looking for an acceptable legal way of still helping these children get out of the combat area, just save them and let them spend the summer on the territory of Russia," Astakhov said.
Astakhov also said there is a serious problem with children from orphanages. "There is a problem with children in orphanages. There are several orphanages on that territory. We have information that they want to take those children to Poland. However, we, like Poland, as the neighboring country, are ready to take these children. There are reports that the children are short of food and are beginning to starve," he said.
Astakhov also said he has not received any reaction to his inquiries from the official Kyiv administration.
According to earlier reports, Astakhov received a request from a Ukrainian foundation on behalf of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics to help take up to 200 children to Russia, but he did not agree to this illegal and risky option.
"We had a request from one foundation, which quoted an address by representatives of the self-defense forces, asking to take from 100 to 200 children from the territory [where fighting is going on]. They even say they are ready to bring them to the Russian border and just give them to us. Without making any documents, just to save them," Astakhov told reporters in Astrakhan on Wednesday.
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