More than 240 children have been injured or killed since start of conflict 

12 June 2015 – At least 68 children are reported to have been killed and 180 injured since March last year as a result of conflict in eastern Ukraine, Unicef said today. While no children were reportedly killed in the latest escalation near the town of Mariinka, west of Donetsk, there are anecdotal reports of children having been injured by heavy weapons fire. 

Unicef expects the actual number of child casualties to be considerably higher than reported as many areas remain inaccessible due to conflict.  

“These figures represent the lives of real girls and boys devastated by the fighting in eastern Ukraine,” said Giovanna Barberis, Unicef Representative to Ukraine. “With violence in the Donetsk region seemingly on the rise, the world must not forget the thousands of children still living in areas under conflict and how every bullet, mortar or shell fired is a threat to their very survival and wellbeing.”

Unicef and its partners are working to ensure the safety of children in eastern Ukraine, including the recent launch of a mine-risk education campaign to provide 500,000 children and their families with lifesaving information about the risks posed by landmines and explosives. Unicef is also providing psychosocial support to conflict-affected children through schools and community protection centres, reaching more than 20,000 boys and girls since the start of this year. Unicef has provided safe drinking water to over 550,000 conflict-affected people in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. 

The conflict in eastern Ukraine, now in its second year, has created a humanitarian crisis affecting more than 5 million people, including 1.7 million children. Nearly 1.3 million people have been internally displaced from their homes and communities in Ukraine, while health and education systems in affected areas remain under severe strain. More than 6,400 people, including at least 626 women and girls, have been killed. 

“We are very worried that intensified fighting will lead to an increased number of child casualties and a worsening of the humanitarian crisis in the east,” added Barberis. “Every effort should be made to keep children safe.”  

Unicef is appealing for £36 million to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of children and families. 

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Notes for editors:

For further information please contact the Unicef UK Press Office on +44 (0)20 7375 6030 or media@unicef.org.uk

About Unicef

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  

Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children.  As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk