War in Ukraine

Nearly 100 children killed in Ukraine in April: Unicef

NEW YORK • Nearly 100 children were killed in Ukraine in April in the raging war, which has created a crisis for safeguarding children and their rights, a top official for the United Nations' agency for children told the Security Council on Thursday.

The real number of children killed in conflict could be considerably higher, said Unicef deputy executive director Omar Abdi.

The Security Council convened the meeting to discuss the impact of the war in Ukraine on children and education.

"Children and parents tell us of their 'living hell', where they were forced to go hungry, drink from muddy puddles, and shelter from constant shelling and bombardments, dodging bombs, bullets and land mines as they fled," he said.

Children make up half of the 14 million Ukrainians uprooted in the war and are at risk of exploitation and long-term trauma because of displacement, separation from family and the disruption of childhood routines, such as attending school.

Mr Abdi offered a grim update on the state of education in Ukraine.

He said schools were being used for other purposes, including serving as military bases.

Since the conflict began in late February, at least 15 of the 89 schools supported by Unicef in eastern Ukraine have been damaged or destroyed, and hundreds of schools across Ukraine have been hit with heavy artillery or airstrikes, he added.

The United States, which assumed the Security Council's rotating presidency for this month, said that an average of 22 schools were struck every day and that there had been 200 attacks on healthcare facilities in Ukraine.

Mr Richard Mills, deputy US ambassador to the United Nations, said children have been deported to Russia along with their families and processed through so-called "filtration camps".

He noted that Russia's commissioner for children's rights, Ms Maria Lvov-Belova, had recently said the process for Russians to adopt a Ukrainian child was being fast-tracked.

Ms Barbara Woodward, Britain's ambassador to the UN, said the damage being done to Ukraine's children was immense.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2022, with the headline Nearly 100 children killed in Ukraine in April: Unicef. Subscribe