Save the Children: fresh attacks on cities show no safe place for children in Ukraine

Recent aerial attacks on cities across Ukraine show there is no safe place in the country for children, Save the Children said today. It is now more urgent than ever that parties to the conflict agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities, as the best way to protect children from violence, the child rights organisation said.

Seven civilians were reportedly killed, and eight injured, including a child, in airstrikes in L’viv this morning.  Meanwhile in Kyiv, which has seen relative quiet over the past few weeks, there have been fresh airstrikes over the weekend, leading to the mayor of the city advising residents who fled the capital earlier in the escalation of the conflict not to return.

Conflict is surging in the east of Ukraine, with reports of further deaths from airstrikes in Kharkiv yesterday, which was Orthodox Palm Sunday in the country. This follows the deaths of at least 10 people, including a 15-year-old boy and a baby, and injuries of 35 in strikes on the city on Friday.

This fresh wave of violence is in addition to the latest official UN figures published on 15 April, showing a total of 4,633 civilian casualties – both deaths and injuries – across the country, 418 of them children.

Save the Children’s Ukraine Country Director Pete Walsh said:

"With every new incident in Ukraine, the country becomes less safe for children. The attacks of the past few days remind us loud and clear: there is no safe place here for children, and the situation is changing by the day.

“Two thirds of children in the entire country have now been uprooted from their homes. When there are aerial bombardments, children on the move, without shelter or cover, are more vulnerable. Some children in Ukraine have spent eight years living in conflict.

“Already our colleagues are reporting signs of severe psychological distress from the children they are speaking to across the country. The longer this goes on, the worse it will get. Ending the violence now is the only way we can protect children from harm and safely deliver crucial humanitarian assistance to those who desperately need it.”