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A teenager who fled Russia-occupied Ukraine sent a police officer who was trying to find him a mocking selfie to show he made it to Kyiv

Kyiv's Independence Square
A view of Maidan Square in Kyiv, Ukraine, where Rostyslav Lavrov took a selfie to send to a Russian police officer.SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images
  • A Ukrainian teenager was taken to Russian-occupied Crimea, per The Washington Post.

  • He escaped, with police looking for him and even putting up missing person posters.

  • The Post reported that the boy then sent a police officer a selfie from Kyiv, to prove he'd escaped.

A teenager who escaped from Russia-occupied Ukraine sent a jeering selfie to a police officer who was looking for him to show that he'd made it to Kyiv, The Washington Post reported.

Rostyslav Lavrov, 17, escaped from Crimea — the peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014 — last month, sparking an effort by Russian police to find him, according to the Post.


He is one of the many children that Ukraine and its allies, including the US, have accused Russia of forcibly deporting.

Lavrov had been living alone in a village in Ukraine's Kherson region when three armed soldiers arrived at his home and told him he needed to go to school in Kherson city, the Post reported. The school then sent him to Crimea.

After he went missing, posters with his description went up, which Lavrov said included a photo that Russian authorities took of him when they held him against his will and tried to give him a Russian ID card.

Lavrov's phone was also called, first by the director of the school where he was made to study by Russian officials, and then by Russian police, the report said.

Police asked him where he was, and Lavrov responded: "I'm in Ukraine," he told the Post in an interview.

Then, when he got to Ukraine's capital, he sent a Russian police officer a selfie that showed him in Maidan Square, the scene of pro-EU and pro-democracy mass demonstrations in 2013 and 2014.

The square is now a symbol of Ukrainian resistance against Russia.

Lavrov escaped by going through Russia and Belarus, a country bordering both Ukraine and Russia that is considered a Russian puppet state, the Post reported.

He then crossed into Ukrainian-held territory on foot, the report said.

The Post said it was not reporting the full details of Lavrov's journey "due to ongoing security concerns."

Ukraine said it has identified almost 20,000 Ukrainian children that Russia has deported.

A study funded by the US State Department said that more than 6,000 children, some just four months old, have been taken to camps in Russia.

It said some of those children were sent to "re-education camps," where children are given a "Russia-centric academic, cultural, patriotic, and/or military education."

The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in March, accusing him of illegally deporting Ukrainian children and transferring them to Russia.

Russia has denied abducting children, saying it is only moving them to safety.

A top Russian official in April said that "we were saving children, from Ukrainian army first and foremost."

Lavrov's testimony could be helpful in Ukraine's efforts to seek justice for children taken by Russia, the Post reported.

That's because many of the children who have been brought back are too young to speak about their experiences, the report said.

This makes it harder to prove in court that Russia committed war crimes, the Post noted.

Read the original article on Business Insider