War in Ukraine has left nearly 1,000 children killed or injured
Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell
NEW YORK, 22 August 2022 – “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.
“And these are just the figures the UN has been able to verify. We believe the true number to be much higher.
“The use of explosive weapons has caused most of the child casualties. These weapons do not discriminate between civilian and combatant, especially when used in populated areas as has been the case in Ukraine – in Mariupol, Luhansk, Kremenchuk, and Vinnytsia. The list goes on and on.
“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.
“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.
“The start of the school year in just over a week’s time is a stark reminder of how much children in Ukraine have lost.
“Ukraine’s education system has been devastated by the escalation of hostilities across the country. Schools have been targeted or used by parties, resulting in families not feeling safe to send their children to school. We estimate that 1 in 10 schools have been damaged or destroyed.
“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.
“UNICEF 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.
“But more than anything, Ukraine’s children need peace.”
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/eca/.