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Rehab Program for Rebellious German Teens Abandons Crimea

A group of German teenagers who were sent to Ukraine's Crimea region in an effort to improve their behavior has been evacuated from the region amid rising separatist tensions there, a German news report said Thursday.

The 13 teenagers from the town of Lünen in Western Germany were sent to Simferopol as part of a rehabilitation program aimed at youths with a history of truancy, violence and crime, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper reported.

The idea is to challenge rebellious youths by placing them in unfamiliar surroundings and cut them off from those who encouraged their harmful actions.

Thomas Stroscher, Lünen's head of youth welfare, told the newspaper that Crimea seemed like an ideal place to take the teenagers because it was so different from Germany.

"If you can't read Cyrillic, you won't even be able to read the menu," he told the paper. "I felt like I was from outer space."

The boys and girls stayed with therapists and had regular classes that adhered to the German curriculum, and additional Russian lessons.

When unrest arose in Crimea, Stroscher decided to move the teenagers to the Ukrainian city of Odessa, more than 300 kilometers from Simferopol.

Stroscher and his team have not yet decided how best to continue the teenagers' rehabilitation, he said.

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