Zelensky Talks 'One of Russia's Most Heinous War Crimes'

He says 200K children have been forcibly taken to Russia; millions of others are displaced
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2022 10:05 AM CDT
Zelensky Talks 'One of Russia's Most Heinous War Crimes'
Children wait in a car in front of a building destroyed by attacks in Borodyanka, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

About two out of every three children in Ukraine have been displaced since war erupted nearly 100 days ago, according to the United Nations' children's agency. More than 5 million children—3 million in Ukraine and over 2.2 million in refugee-hosting countries—are in need of humanitarian assistance, UNICEF said Tuesday ahead of International Children's Day, per CBS News. It's "one of the largest and fastest [displacement crises] in recent memory," Christopher Tidey, emergency communication specialist for UNICEF, tells the outlet. At least 262 children have been killed and 415 have been injured, mostly "in attacks using explosive weapons in populated areas," according to UNICEF, which notes hundreds of schools have been hit.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave slightly different numbers Wednesday, stating at least 243 children have died, 446 have been injured, and 139 are missing. Officials in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv have placed stuffed toys in empty school buses in a city square as a memorial to the fallen, per the Guardian. Zelensky said another 200,000 children have been forcibly taken to remote regions of Russia, some with their parents, some without. "This is one of Russia's most heinous war crimes," meant "to make deportees forget about Ukraine and not be able to return," he said, per CNN. Some children are "placed in foster care or adopted in violation of international humanitarian law," Ukraine's UN Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya tells CBS.

Displaced children "urgently need safety, stability, child protection services, and psychosocial support—especially those who are unaccompanied or have been separated from their families. More than anything, they need peace," UNICEF said, renewing calls for a ceasefire. Friday marks the 100th day of the Russian invasion. Russia now occupies about 20% of Ukraine's territory, with Donbas "almost entirely destroyed," Zelensky said, per CNN. "Without an urgent ceasefire and negotiated peace, children will continue to suffer—and fallout from the war will impact vulnerable children around the world," said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. (More US weapons are coming.)

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