Numbers of children killed yet another tragic milestone in Russia’s war on Ukraine - Steve Cardownie
Ukraine’s President Zelensky said that, “Russian weapons and hatred continue to take and destroy the lives of Ukraniain children every day. Many of them could have become famous scholars, artists, and sports champions, contributing to Ukraine’s history”.
He said that it was impossible to establish the exact number of children who were casualties due to the ongoing war and because some areas were under Russian occupation.
As rescuers pulled the body of a two-year-old girl from the rubble of a bombed building in Dnipro he went on: “We must win this war. All of Ukraine, all our people, all our children, must be free from the Russian terror.”
It is estimated that in the first full year of the war more than 400 children were killed by shelling, missiles or drone strikes, mostly in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions where there has been continuous fighting since the invasion.
As the shelling continues across urban areas in the south and east of the country and with the constant threat of air strikes nationwide, many young people have sheltered in the basements of residential buildings that have been subject to attacks. Save the Children estimated that last year children in Ukraine were forced to spend more than 900 hours, equivalent to 38.3 days, in underground bunkers.
Save the Children’s Country Director in Ukraine, Sonia Khush, said: “Half a thousand children killed is yet another tragic milestone reached in this war. This is 500 more than it should be. Innocent girls and boys are still being injured every day in Ukraine where violence, including the use of explosive weapons in urban areas, looms on the horizon. As a result there have been three times as many child casualties in the first year of the war compared to the previous eight years of conflict in the east of the country.”
“Children in Ukraine have also experienced immense psychological distress because of violence and instability – many have been separated from their parents or seen their loved ones killed or injured. The world must act now and do whatever it takes to protect the most vulnerable of human beings.”
Last year my two young nephews and my two young nieces made it safely to these shores from Ukraine. Accompanied by their mothers, they made the perilous journey to Poland before receiving clearance to come to Scotland. Now, having lived here for over a year, they have settled into their new lives, attending their local schools and taking part in community events, safe from the dangers that children back in their homeland face on a daily basis.
Their families are extremely grateful that the Scottish Government adopted the role of “Super Sponsor” which allowed them to come here. There are, of course, many more children like them who are now in Scotland, who have escaped the horrors of war in Ukraine – and for that they are also thankful.