- On Friday, it will be 100 days since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th.
- According to UNICEF, the impact on children has reached levels not seen since World War II.
- The organization said at least 5.2 million children need help so far.
UNICEF said that more than three months of war in Ukraine had had “devastating effects on children on a scale and rate not seen since World War II” – with 5.2 million children in need of assistance.
The number includes three million in Ukraine and another 2.2 million as refugees from neighboring countries.
UNICEF spokesperson Joe English told Insider that children in active war zones need the most basic necessities of life.
They have been evicted from their homes. Their homes were destroyed. “They have nowhere to go back to.”
As of May 31, more than 4,100 people have been killed in Ukraine. Including at least 264 children. More than 420 children were injured.
UNICEF warned that the war was creating an “acute child protection crisis” and called for a ceasefire to protect children.
“Children fleeing violence are at high risk of family separation, violence and abuse, sexual exploitation and human trafficking,” UNICEF said. “Most of them have been exposed to very traumatic events. These children are in dire need of security, stability, child protection services and psychosocial support – especially those who are unaccompanied or separated from their families.”
“They need peace above all,” the organization added.
Some of the necessities include things like safe drinking water, English said, adding that 1.4 million people in the eastern part of the country lack safe drinking water. He said children also need food and medical supplies, as well as educational tools and toys.
“It is important that we not only address the immediate needs of children and families … but also things like education, supplies, games and psychosocial support for children, because you can keep children alive, but you also have to give them a little.” Which gives hope for the future,” said English.
UNICEF’s findings come as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches its 100th day. In recent months, Ukraine managed to repel a narrow invasion expected by Russia.
The invasion triggered a series of sanctions against Russia by Western countries, the most recent of which was on Monday when European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that she would cut about 90% of oil imports from Russia by the end of the year.
With Russia being one of the world’s largest producers of crude oil, this move could have a significant impact on revenues and the global economy in general. However, while Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government says it plans to sell to other importers, there has also been pressure from within the country to end the war.
Two regional officials in Russia have publicly urged Putin to end the war. Despite domestic and international pressure to end the war against Ukraine, the Kremlin still believes they have a chance of victory, and the offensive in the Donbass region continues, with Russia still making gains.
The bombing and fighting have destroyed entire cities and entire infrastructure, with millions of people displaced or fleeing the country. UNICEF is calling for an end to the use of “explosive weapons in populated areas and attacks on civilian infrastructure”.
English said the ceasefire would help provide essential supplies to people trapped in underground bunkers in areas where the bombing and fighting were active.
The impact of the war extends beyond the region and Europe. Experts have warned that the invasion could lead to a food crisis as supplies such as wheat dwindle. This effect can increase prices and additionally reduce support for other crises.
“The sad conclusion to this conflict is that it is affecting children and families thousands and thousands of miles away – many of whom are already among the most vulnerable children in the world,” said English. “So Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria – this affects not only the supply of wheat and food, of which Ukraine and Russia are a significant source, but also the broader economic impact of this crisis.”
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