Zelenskyy: At least 500 children have died in the war in Ukraine



At least 500 Ukrainian children have died in Russia’s war launched 16 months ago, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday.

Zelenskyy gave the figures after rescuers found the body of a two-year-old girl killed in one of the latest Russian attacks.

“Russian weapons and hatred, which continue to take and destroy lives of Ukrainian children every day,” killed the hundreds of children killed since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, 2022, the president said in a statement.

“Many of them could have become academics, artists, famous sports champions, contributing to the history of Ukraine,” he said.

Zelenskyy said that it is impossible to specify the exact number of child victims of the war because hostilities continue and some areas are under Russian occupation.

“We must resist and win this war!” the leader said. “All Ukraine, all our people, all our children must be free from Russian terror!”.

Rescuers found the body of the two-year-old toddler on Sunday while searching through the rubble of an apartment building in the suburbs of the central city of Dnipro.

Regional governor Serhiy Lysak said there were five children among the 22 injured in Saturday’s attack, which damaged two residential buildings.

Russian forces launched more drone and cruise missile attacks on Sunday against several areas of the country, including the capital, Kiev.

Anti-aircraft defenses shot down three of five Shahed explosive drones and four of six cruise missiles launched, according to the Ukrainian air force.

Two missiles hit a military air base in Kropyvnytskyi, a town in the central Ukrainian province of Kyrovohrad, Ukrainian air force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said. He did not clarify what damage had been caused.

The Russian military, for its part, said it had carried out a series of strikes in recent days against Ukrainian anti-aircraft batteries, air bases and troop depots. The long-distance strikes were made as Ukraine prepares for a long-awaited counteroffensive in which it hopes to gain more ground.

Concern for the safety of civilians grew after authorities acknowledged on Saturday that a quarter of the 4,800 air-raid shelters inspected were closed or unusable. According to reports, a 33-year-old woman in Kiev died while waiting outside a closed shelter during a Russian missile strike on Thursday.

The prosecutor’s office in the capital said four people had been detained as part of a criminal investigation into the death of a woman as she and others waited to enter a closed shelter. A security guard who allegedly failed to open the doors was still being held. Three other people, including a local official, were under house arrest.

Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko said Saturday that city authorities had received “more than a thousand” complaints about closed, dilapidated or insufficient bomb shelters on the first day of a campaign to gather opinions on the issue.

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