ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – There are 66 Russian women in Iraqi jails for various violations of the country’s laws and Moscow is closely following their cases, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a local newspaper.
“So far, we managed to return 90 children to their homeland. According to our information, about 30 of them still remain in Iraq and we expect to take them home in the coming months,” Lavrov said in an interview with Russian Argumenty i Fakty Daily newspaper, quoted by Russian News Agency (TASS).
“Regretfully, the cases of their mothers are more difficult to handle. All of them were convicted for violating Iraqi laws: trespassing the border, illegally staying in the country, participating in terrorist activities. The 66 Russian citizens are imprisoned. The Russian embassy in Baghdad follows the situation and renders them necessary assistance.”
Moscow started to repatriate its underage citizens from Iraq in autumn 2017, when local authorities informed the country of the capture of Russian women and their children during operations against the Islamic State in Mosul.
Russia established an inter-agency commission that year to deal with children sent home from combat zones.
In Dec. 2018 and Feb. 2019, Russia brought back 57 children from Iraq. Last week alone, Moscow repatriated 33 Russian children in Iraq from the capital of Baghdad.
Recently, Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Anna Kuznetsova, told local media that all Russian children imprisoned in Iraq for terrorist activities would be returned to Russia by August.
She mentioned that most of the children are four years old or younger, born outside of the territory of Russia.
Editing by Nadia Riva