UNICEF: Nearly 1,000 children killed or injured in Ukraine
By Vatican News staff reporter
UNICEF is highlighting the toll the war in Ukraine is having on the lives of children in the country.
In a statement by Catherine Russell, Executive-Director of the UN children’s charity, she says “At least 972 children in Ukraine have been killed or injured by violence since the war escalated nearly six months ago, an average of over five children killed or injured each day.”
The grim figures are those that the UN has been able to verify. The organisation believes the true number is much higher.
Children at risk
As populated areas such as Mariupol, Luhansk, Kremenchuk, and Vinnytsia are targeted, the use of explosive weapons has caused most of the child casualties.
“Once again, as in all wars, the reckless decisions of adults are putting children at extreme risk. There are no armed operations of this kind that do not result in children being harmed, Russell says.
She also points out that “beyond the horror of children being killed or physically hurt in attacks, almost every child in Ukraine has been exposed to deeply distressing events, and those fleeing violence are at significant risk of family separation, violence, abuse, sexual exploitation, and trafficking.”
At this time of year children are preparing to go back to school.
However, for kids caught up in this war the executive director says that heading back to the classroom “is a stark reminder of how much children in Ukraine have lost.”
UNICEF estimates that 1 in 10 schools have been damaged or destroyed and the education system itself has been devastated by the escalation of hostilities across the country.
Russell stresses that “All children need to be in school and learning, including children caught up in emergencies. Children in Ukraine and those displaced by this war are no exception."
Call for peace
The children’s charity continues to call for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and for all children to be protected from harm. This includes ending the brutal use of explosive weapons in populated areas and attacks on civilian facilities and infrastructure.
“Ukraine’s children urgently need safety, stability, access to safe learning, child protection services, and psychosocial support, says the executive-director.
“But more than anything, Ukraine’s children need peace.”
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