16-year-old Vlad Buryak, son of the Head Zaporizhzhia Regional State Administration was criminally abducted by Russian military forces on the 8th of April 2022. Missing Children Europe’s member in Ukraine, NGO Magnolia, provided assistance to Vlad’s father in the traumatic period following this event. After 3 months of imprisonment and a series of negotiations with the Russian military, Vlad was returned to his father. International pressure and media attention played an important role in his release. Missing Children Europe strongly condemns this abduction and will continue to draw attention to the story of Vlad Buryak to stop the Russian Federation from abducting more Ukrainian children.


On the 8th of April, at the checkpoint in Vasylivka in the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine 16-year-old Vlad, the son of the Head of Zaporizhzhia Regional State Administration Oleg Buryak, was criminally abducted by Russian military forces. Vlad was seized from a car that was part of a civilian evacuation convoy, moving from Melitopol in occupied territory, to Zaporizhzhia. When the Russian soldiers checked Vlad’s documents and realized who his father was, they retained the boy.


Vlad’s was the first recorded case of a politically motivated criminal abduction of a Ukrainian child by the Russian military.


His father, Oleg Buryak, called on the international community for help in finding and releasing his son. Representatives of NGO Magnolia, our Ukrainian member, were in contact with Vlad’s father during the entire time of his incarceration. NGO Magnolia and Missing Children Europe shared the story widely amongst the international community and in the media to support the call for his immediate release.


On the 8th of July, after 90 days of imprisonment and following a series of negotiations, Vlad was returned to his father. Upon his release, Vlad testified that for the first 48 days he was incarcerated in a criminal detention single cell in occupied Vasylivka, Zaporizhzhia region. Later, he was transferred to a location with better conditions. During his incarceration, Vlad says, he was subjected to interrogation and witnessed the torture of other prisoners.


Oleg Buryak expresses his deep gratitude to everyone who contributed to the release of his son with words or actions. He emphasizes that international support and media attention played an essential role in releasing Vlad.


Missing Children Europe welcomes the release of Vlad Buryak and condemns his abduction. The actions of the Russian Federation violated the norms of International Criminal Law, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. No child should, for any reason, be kept as a hostage and the guilty must be brought to justice.


Missing Children Europe will continue to draw attention to the story of Vlad Buryak to stop the Russian Federation from abducting more Ukrainian children.

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About Missing Children Europe

Missing Children Europe is the European federation for missing and sexually exploited children, representing 31 organisations from 26 European countries. We provide the link between research, policies, and organisations on the ground to protect children from any kind of violence, abuse or neglect that is caused by or results from them going missing.


About NGO Magnolia

NGO Magnolia was founded more than 20 years ago by a group of journalists to protect the rights of vulnerable children and families and to support the search for missing children through publicity appeals. Cooperating with almost 30 TV channels and advertising agencies, they share posters of missing children and video appeals from their families. Since its start, NGO Magnolia contributed to the search and location of more than 2300 children.