AP

UN: Nearly two-thirds of Ukraine’s children have fled homes

Apr 11, 2022, 6:06 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:36 pm

People, mainly women and children, pass through Przemysl train station after fleeing from war-torn ...

People, mainly women and children, pass through Przemysl train station after fleeing from war-torn Ukraine on April 09, 2022 in Przemysl, Poland. According to the United Nations, since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 upward of 10 million people have been displaced and at least 1,100 civilians have been killed. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Nearly two-thirds of all Ukrainian children have fled their homes in the six weeks since Russia’s invasion, and the United Nations has verified the deaths of 142 youngsters, though the number is almost certainly much higher, the U.N. children’s agency said Monday.

Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s emergency programs director who just returned from Ukraine, said having 4.8 million of Ukraine’s 7.5 million children displaced in such a short time is “quite incredible.” He said it is something he hadn’t before seen happen so quickly in 31 years of humanitarian work.

“They have been forced to leave everything behind — their homes, their schools and, often, their family members,” he told the U.N. Security Council. “I have heard stories of the desperate steps parents are taking to get their children to safety, and children saddened that they are unable to get back to school.”

Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador, Sergiy Kyslytsya, claimed Russia has taken more than 121,000 children out of Ukraine and reportedly drafted a bill to simplify and accelerate adoption procedures for orphans and even those who have parents and other relatives. He said most of the children were removed from the besieged southern port city of Mariupol and taken to eastern Donetsk and then to the Russian city of Taganrog.

Fontaine said UNICEF has heard the same reports, but added that “we don’t have yet the access that we need to have to be able to look and verify and see if we can assist.”

He said that of Ukraine’s displaced children, 2.8 million are in Ukraine and 2 million more are in other countries. At the same time, he said, nearly half the estimated 3.2 million children still in their homes in Ukraine “may be at risk of not having enough food,” with those in besieged cities like Mariupol facing the most dire situation.

Fontaine said school closings are affecting the education of 5.7 million younger children and 1.5 million students in higher education.

“Hundreds of schools and educational facilities have been attacked or used for military purposes,” he said. “Others are serving as shelters for civilians.”

The council also heard from Sima Bahous, the executive director of the UN Women agency, who recently returned from Moldova, which is hosting an estimated 95,000 Ukrainian refugees.

Bahous said her agency is increasingly hearing allegations of rape and sexual violence. She said Moldova’s government and border police are also very concerned at the risk of human trafficking, especially of young women and unaccompanied teenagers.

“The combination of mass displacement with the large presence of conscripts and mercenaries, and the brutality displayed against Ukrainian civilians, has raised all red flags,” she said.

Ukraine’s ambassador said his country’s prosecutor’s office is now investigating a case in the Kyiv region in which a Russia soldier is alleged to have killed a local resident and then repeatedly raped his wife in their home. He said the alleged perpetrator has been identified.

Kyslytsya said the Prosecutor General’s Office, in cooperation with investigation agencies and health facilities, is also installing “a special mechanism” to document cases of sexual violence by Russian soldiers.

The Security Council meeting on the impact of the war on women and children was convened by the U.S. and Albania during Britain’s presidency of the body.

The three countries, Ukraine and other council members attacked Russia for creating the dire situation for women and children, which Russian deputy ambassador Dmitry Polyansky vehemently denied.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that when men like Russian President Vladimir Putin “start wars, women and children get displaced,” hurt, raped and abused, and they die.

“Since the start of Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine, Russia has bombed orphanages and maternity hospitals,” she said. “We’ve seen mass graves with dead children stacked on top of each other.”

Albanian Ambassador Ferit Hoxha accused Russia of committing “unspeakable crimes” every day, including burning civilians, throwing bodies in mass graves, shooting into playgrounds, attacking schools on purpose, and leaving all Ukrainians suffering, especially women and children.

“In their normal life, children draw parents, houses and trees. Russia’s war has made Ukraine kids draw bombs, tanks and weapons,” Hoxha said.

Both the U.S. and Albanian ambassadors, and many others, pointed to the discovery of bodies, some with hands tied behind their backs, in the town of Bucha on the outskirts of Kyiv following the withdrawal of Russian troops, and the missile that killed at least 52 mainly women and children at the train station in eastern Kramatorsk. Hoxha noted that the missile had “a vicious signature, `for our children.’”

Russia’s Polyansky blamed “Ukrainian Nazis” for civilian killings in Bucha and the bombing at the Kramatorsk station, which he called “a classic false flag operation.”

He accused Ukraine and its public relations experts, along with the West, of promoting “fakes and propaganda” as part of “the information war unleashed against Russia.”

“That war is as intense as the military operations on the ground,” he said.

Lord Tariq Ahmad, Britain’s minister of state for the U.N. who presided over the meeting, countered that Russia again was trying to deflect from the reality on the ground “by what can only be described as quite extraordinary statements, and even lies.”

“Yet, what is true, what is fact, is that Russian attacks on civilians and residential areas have been truly barbaric,” he said.

KSL 5 TV Live

AP

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, left, and President Joe Biden toast before Biden speaks to members of the Na...

Darlene Superville, The Associated Press

Biden and Utah’s governor call for less bitterness and more bipartisanship

President Joe Biden and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox disagree on many issues but they were united Saturday in calling for less bitterness in politics and more bipartisanship.

25 minutes ago

FILE - The company logo hangs over the door to an AT&T store Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in Denver...

Associated Press

AT&T will give $5 to customers hit by cellphone network outage

AT&T says it will give affected customers $5 each to compensate for last week's cellphone network outage that left many without service for hours.

3 hours ago

A paddle boarder tows an inflatable unicorn on a temporary lake in Death Valley on Thursday, Feb. 2...

Ty O'Neil, John Locher and Stephanie Dazio, The Associated Press

Kayakers paddle in Death Valley after rains replenish lake in one of Earth’s driest spots

Kayakers have been paddling in one of the driest places on Earth after a series of record rainstorms battered California’s Death Valley and replenished Lake Manly.

5 hours ago

Kingsley Ben-Adir, izquierda, protagonista de "Bob Marley: One Love" posa con el hijo de Marley, Zi...

Jonathan Landrum, Jr., The Associated Press

‘One Love’ receives more love at the box office, claiming No. 1 spot for second straight week

For a second straight week, biopic “ Bob Marley: One Love ” continues to exceed expectations by claiming the No. 1 spot at the box office, overcoming two debut films and Sony's “Madame Web” that's still producing subpar numbers.

6 hours ago

February, 29, otherwise know as leap year day, is shown on a calendar Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, in Ove...

Leanne Italie, The Associated Press

What would happen without a leap day? More than you might think

Leap year. It's a delight for the calendar and math nerds among us. So how did it all begin and why?

7 hours ago

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives ahead of a press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunda...

Associated Press

31,000 Ukrainian troops killed since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Zelenskyy says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday that 31,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed in action in the two years since Russia launched its full-scale invasion.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

UN: Nearly two-thirds of Ukraine’s children have fled homes