The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office has revealed that at least 500 children have been killed and more than 1,000 injured as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began in February 2022. The office, which is responsible for documenting and prosecuting Russia’s war crimes, said that the number of child victims is likely to increase as the conflict continues and more data becomes available.
The office said that most of the children were killed or wounded by Russian air strikes, artillery shelling, landmines, and sniper fire. Some of the children were also tortured, raped, or executed by Russian forces or their proxies. The office cited several examples of horrific attacks on children, such as:
- On 25 February 2022, a Russian air strike hit a school in Kramatorsk, killing 15 children and injuring 32 others.
- On 12 March 2022, a Russian artillery barrage hit a kindergarten in Zaporizhzhia, killing 12 children and injuring 18 others.
- On 7 April 2022, a Russian landmine exploded near a playground in Mariupol, killing 8 children and injuring 11 others.
- On 21 May 2022, a Russian sniper shot and killed a 9-year-old girl who was playing in her backyard in Sloviansk.
- On 3 June 2022, a Russian soldier raped and killed a 13-year-old boy who was captured during a raid on a village in Luhansk.
The PGO says the majority of children were affected in the following oblasts: Donetsk – 485, Kharkiv – 298, Kyiv – 129, Kherson – 118, Zaporizhzhia – 99, Mykolaiv – 97, Dnipropetrovsk – 94, Chernihiv – 71, and Luhansk – 67.
The office said that these crimes constitute grave violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, and that Russia must be held accountable for them. The office also called on the international community to increase its pressure on Russia to stop its aggression and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The office said that it is working closely with the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, and other international organisations to collect evidence and testimonies of Russia’s war crimes. The office also said that it is providing legal assistance and psychological support to the families of the victims.
The office said that it will continue to pursue justice for the children and all other victims of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has claimed more than 14,000 lives and displaced more than 8 million people since 2014. The office said that it will not rest until Russia is brought to justice and peace is restored in Ukraine.
However, the PGO emphasizes that these figures are not definitive, as the number may differ after the liberation and examination of the Ukrainian territories captured by Russia.