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17 Jul, 2023 15:13

‘I won’t miss London,’ sanctioned Russian official tells UK

There was no way Moscow would allow Donbass children to remain under Ukrainian artillery fire, Vyacheslav Dukhin has said
‘I won’t miss London,’ sanctioned Russian official tells UK

A senior Russian official hit by the latest round of UK sanctions has shrugged off accusations that he helped to forcibly deport Ukrainian children, adding that he has no regrets about the actions which saw him blacklisted.

On Monday, the UK’s Foreign Office announced a new round of anti-Russia sanctions, targeting several high-ranking officials and media figures, including Education Minister Sergey Kravtsov, Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova, journalist Anton Krasovsky and a number of human and children’s rights officials.

The ministry argued that those blacklisted were either “involved in the forced deportation of Ukrainian children” to Russia, or were “spreading… hate-inciting propaganda.” The sanctions mean that they will face asset freezes – if any are found in the UK – and travel bans.

The deputy head of Moscow Region, Vyacheslav Dukhin, who was also included on the blacklist, seemed unfazed by the sanctions. Writing on Instagram, he pointed out that he had no assets in the UK that could be frozen in the first place.

The official also responded to the accusations of deportation, stating that all of those who had been transferred from Russia’s Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics to Moscow Region had no parents.

“They now live in foster families, loved and being taken care of… I think that even Ukrainian propaganda will not dare to say that they should have been left in danger under Ukrainian artillery strikes,” he said.

Dukhin added that while he had been to London many times on business trips, he would not miss it. “Just be careful that this London bridge of yours doesn’t fall down, like in the song,” he quipped. 

Officials in Kiev have repeatedly accused Russia of illegally deporting Ukrainian children, an allegation Moscow vehemently denies. Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted that Moscow had been moving children out of the conflict zone in order to “save their lives.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov maintains that Moscow has been extremely transparent on the matter, having said that if the children’s close relatives decide to pick them up, they have every right to do so.