In April, close to 100 children were killed in Ukraine, UNICEF said on Thursday, but an agency official told the United Nations Security Council he believes "the actual figures to be considerably higher."
UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Omar Abdi said that since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, many children have "been injured and faced grave violations of their rights," with "millions more" displaced. "The war in Ukraine, like all wars, is a child protection and child rights crisis," he added.
Education is under attack as well, Abdi said, explaining that as of last week, at least 15 of 89 UNICEF-supported schools in eastern Ukraine "have been damaged or destroyed since the start of the war. Hundreds of schools across the country are reported to have been hit by heavy artillery, airstrikes, and other explosive weapons in populated areas."
Schools are lifelines for children during the best of times, Abdi stated, and are especially vital during conflict. "Schools are a safe space, with routines providing protection from harm and a semblance of normalcy," he added. "Schools are also critical conduits for information about the risks of deadly explosive ordnance. And they are a connector to essential health and psychosocial services."