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UN: Over 5 Million Children in Ukraine Affected by Russian Invasion

Ucrania, El American

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused devastating consequences for children on a scale not seen since World War II, according to the UN, whose reports indicate that millions of children have been displaced and hundreds have been killed since the beginning of the war in February.

According to the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), some 5.2 million children have been displaced since Russia began its invasion of Ukrainian territory on February 24.

From this, 3 million inside Ukraine and another 2.2 million in other countries “need humanitarian assistance” in a war that has displaced two-thirds of Ukrainian children.

Ukraine’s devastated youth

Data from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) indicate that, on average, more than two children are killed and more than four are injured in Ukraine as a result of Russian attacks in populated areas.

The UN report notes that explosive attacks by Russian troops have affected at least 256 health facilities and one in six UNICEF-supported “safe schools,” as well as hundreds of schools across the country.

The organization also warned that conditions for children in eastern and southern Ukraine, where fighting has intensified, are worsening.

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell regrets the situation is such as we approach June 1, designated as the International Day for Protection of Children in Ukraine and throughout the region.

A boy plays in a damaged Russian tank in the village of Lukashivka, Chernihiv region (EFE).

“Instead of celebrating the occasion, we are solemnly approaching June 3 – the 100th day of a war that has shattered the lives of millions of children,” Russell said. “Without an urgent ceasefire and negotiated peace, children will continue to suffer – and fallout from the war will impact vulnerable children around the world.”

UNICEF’s warning also includes the potential child protection implications, given that children fleeing war are at significant risk of family separation, violence, abuse, sexual exploitation and trafficking, and the vast majority of them have been exposed to deeply traumatic events.

“These children urgently need safety, stability, child protection services, and psychosocial support – especially those who are unaccompanied or have been separated from their families,” reads the report. “More than anything, they need peace.”

Vladimir Putin’s war has left the unfortunate toll of 262 children killed and 415 wounded in three months. As of June 1, UNICEF reached more than 610,000 children and caregivers with psychosocial and mental health support; and provided learning materials to nearly 290,000 children, victims of the war.

A total of 4,113 people have been killed and 4,916 injured as a result of the invasion, according to OHCHR estimates.

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