Bohdan Yermokhin, a 17-year-old boy who was illegally deported from the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol, has arrived in Belarus and is currently staying there with his sister. This information was reported by Vyorstka, a Russian-language online media outlet, citing Yermokhin himself and his lawyer, Ekaterina Bobrovskaya. Tatyana Moskalkova, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Russian Federation, also confirmed the news on her Telegram channel.
According to reports, as early as November 13th, Yermokhin, who had been promised by the Russian authorities that he would be taken to a “third country” to meet a relative before he turned 18 on November 19th, took to Instagram to express his frustration about not receiving any details about the upcoming trip. He demanded an answer or any information regarding the matter.
Ukrainska Pravda reached out to Yermokhin’s lawyer and Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian Human Rights Commissioner, to verify the information, but they did not respond at the time of writing this article.
However, later on, Russian ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova confirmed that Yermokhin had been brought from Moscow to Minsk. She provided photographic and video evidence to support her statement. In one of the videos, Yermokhin expressed his gratitude to everyone who helped him leave Russia and stated that everything was fine during his stay there.
Yermokhin said, “Now I am at the airport [in Moscow – ed.], on my way to Minsk. I want to say to everyone who helped me: I was loved here, and everything was fine. But this is what I want. Thank you all again. See you later.”
To provide some background, Yermokhin was deported by the Russians when he was 16 years old in 2022. He ended up in a children’s sanatorium in Moscow Oblast. In July 2022, he was placed under the care of Irina Rudnitskaya, a Russian national and a veteran of the Chechen war. Subsequently, the young man sought the assistance of a lawyer.
It is worth noting that Yermokhin will turn 18 on November 19th and has received a draft notice to report to the Moscow Oblast military enlistment office on December 19th, 2023.
Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights, who is the subject of an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant, claimed that Yermokhin would be sent back home next week.
In early November, Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, reported that Ukraine had made arrangements to bring Yermokhin back to his home country.
This story highlights the challenges faced by Yermokhin, who was illegally deported and served with a military draft notice in Russia. His journey to Belarus and the support he received from various individuals and organizations will undoubtedly continue to be closely monitored.