Children in crisis during Russia’s war in Ukraine took center stage at a UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday, as UN members cited several staggering statistics and once again called on Moscow to ask end to war.
World leaders have condemned Russia’s deadly invasion and the effects it has had on global food shortages, the rise of international displaced persons and the energy crisis it has helped plunge the world into.
“On Thursday, the United Nations released its global humanitarian overview for 2023, which set another record with 339 million people in need of assistance and a price tag of $51 billion,” US Ambassador Lisa said on Tuesday. carty. “Russia’s aggression has triggered one of the largest refugee and internally displaced crises since World War II.”
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“President Putin has focused his wrath and fire on the civilian population of Ukraine,” he continued, noting Moscow’s constant attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
“These consequences are horrific and cause unnecessary suffering,” he added. “Children cannot attend school and doctors cannot treat the sick.”
Two-thirds of all children have been displaced, 2,500 schools destroyed or damaged and 5 million children are out of school, officials said.
But aside from the devastation the Russian war has wrought on Ukraine’s infrastructure, UN officials have also pointed to the psychological effect it has had on Ukraine’s younger generations.
“1.5 million children are at risk of suffering from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and other conditions that require mental health interventions,” said the ambassador to Mexico.
Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said some 765,000 children were receiving psychosocial support to help them cope with the effects of the war.
“I make no apologies for the stream of really terrifying stats,” Griffiths said. “Since February, 1,148 children have been killed or injured, while millions have fled, uprooted from their homes, separated from their families or put at risk of violence.”
World leaders also said they were concerned about sexual and gender-based violence, as well as human trafficking affecting children.
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“Thousands of Ukrainian children have reportedly been transferred to Russia for adoption and neutering through simplified and expedited procedures without the consent of parents or legal guardians,” said the delegate in Norway.
“The statistics we heard today from the United Nations are shocking,” added British Ambassador Barbara Woodward. “The trauma inflicted by Russia will last for generations.”
The delegate for Ireland echoed these sentiments and said that Ukrainian children were “robbed of their childhood” and their “right to education denied”.
Russia rejected international condemnation it faced yet again on Tuesday and suggested its troops were targeting civilian areas because Ukraine had erected air defense systems in those areas.
About 40 percent of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed and is contributing to the nearly 18 million people in Ukraine in need of humanitarian assistance, including the nearly 7 million internally displaced people.
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Officials on Tuesday warned that the repercussions of Russia’s war would affect not only generations to come in Ukraine but around the world.
“Humanitarian needs are accelerating, and this is especially true for the winter,” warned the undersecretary general. “But I put that in that larger context of a world gone mad, where 1 in 23 people are in need of humanitarian assistance worldwide.
“It’s an unimaginable picture,” Griffiths added.