The U.N. children’s agency says nearly 1,000 Ukrainian children have been confirmed killed or injured from violence since Russia invaded Ukraine almost six months ago.
UNICEF said Monday its tally of at least 972 child casualties represents only those that have been verified by the United Nations and said the true number is likely to be much higher.
Most of the casualties have been caused by explosive weapons, according to a statement by UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.
“Once again, as in all wars, the reckless decisions of adults are putting children at extreme risk. There are no armed operations of this kind that do not result in children being harmed,” she wrote.
Russell said that beyond the children who have been killed or injured in the violence, “almost every child in Ukraine has been exposed to deeply distressing events, and those fleeing violence are at significant risk of family separation, violence, abuse, sexual exploitation, and trafficking.”
She said the start of Ukraine’s school year in just over a week is a reminder of how much children in the country have lost.
Russell said her agency estimates that 1 in 10 schools in Ukraine have been damaged or destroyed in the war.
“All children need to be in school and learning, including children caught up in emergencies. Children in Ukraine and those displaced by this war are no exception,” she said.
UNICEF called for an end to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas as well as attacks on civilian facilities and infrastructure.
Ukraine’s government has accused Russia of deliberately targeting civilians in Ukraine, a charge Moscow denies.