Nearly 1,000 children have been killed or injured in Russian attacks in Ukraine, UNICEF said.
“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,” UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said in a statement.
These are just the figures the UN has been able to verify, and the actual numbers are believed to be much higher, according to the UN arm for children.
Most of the children were victims of explosive weapons. These weapons were indiscriminately used by Russian forces in populated areas such as Mariupol, Luhansk, Kremenchuk, and Vinnytsia.
Wednesday marks six months of the Russian invasion and Ukraine’s Independence day.
Ukrainian government has banned public events to mark Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union 31 years ago, on August 24, 1991.
The alert came in the wake of warning by the State Department that Russia is planning to launch fresh attacks against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and government buildings as the country celebrates its Independence Day.
“Meanwhile, 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, according to the top UNICEF offical.
She noted that Ukraine’s education system has been devastated by the escalation of hostilities across the country. Schools have been targeted or used by forces, resulting in families not feeling safe to send their children to school. With the new school year in Ukraine set to start in just over a week’s time, UNICEF estimates that 1 in 10 schools in the country have been damaged or destroyed.
UNICEF called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and for all children to be protected from harm.
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