The Russian invasion has forced a large majority of Ukrainian children to leave their homes, a regional director for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) told a news conference in New York.
“Nearly two-thirds of Ukraine’s children are displaced — whether displaced inside the country or those who have fled across borders as refugees,” said Afshan Khan, regional director for Europe and Central Asia, according to remarks as prepared for delivery.
“Children forced to leave homes, friends, toys and treasured belongings, family members and facing uncertainty about the future.”
Khan said that according to UN figures, 277 children have been killed and 456 injured over the course of the war, and fighting has damaged or destroyed one in six “UNICEF-supported ‘safe schools’” in the country’s east.
The Ukrainian government quotes an even higher figure: The Prosecutor General says 313 children have been killed and 579 injured.
As these numbers show, the war in Ukraine is a child rights crisis, and UNICEF is working to support children and families wherever they are in the country,” Khan added.
She said that attacks on populated areas and civilian infrastructure “clearly must stop.”
“UNICEF continues to call for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and to protect all children from harm. Every day that this war continues, is increasing the long-lasting, devastating impact on children, in Ukraine, in the region and across the world.”