Russia’s War in Ukraine: Live Updates

“War. I slept well, woke up and laughed.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky read those opening words from “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank at a conference focused on children Wednesday afternoon as he sought to highlight the damage Russia’s invasion of his country has done to its youngest citizens. There was: In the 15-month war, he said, at least 483 children were killed, and other estimates suggest the toll is higher.

“When there are air-raid sirens every night, and just sleeping is a joy, it’s worth it,” he said. “When there are missile attacks every night and waking up in the morning is really priceless.”

Hours after he spoke, the 9-year-old girl and her 34-year-old mother were awakened in the early hours of the morning by air raid alarms in Kiev, police said. The two raced to what would have been the safety of a bomb shelter at the city’s children’s hospital, but, according to Mayor Vitali Klitschko, they died just outside the door.

Police said Russian ballistic missiles were flying toward the city at five times the speed of sound as the two stood outside the hospital building. Minutes after the alarm went off, a missile was struck by a Ukrainian interceptor missile in the sky above, and the child and his mother were killed by burning debris, according to the mayor. At dawn, the child’s grandmother arrived to identify the body.

The girl’s death in the early hours of International Children’s Day in Ukraine was a reminder that the most innocent people pay a high price in war. It sparked renewed outrage across Ukraine. Mr Klitschko said events planned in the city to celebrate Children’s Day had been cancelled, and an investigation was underway into why the gates were closed.

A 33-year-old woman was also killed and at least 16 people were injured when debris fell nearby, the mayor said, according to police. Windows of nearby houses and apartments were blown out. In other parts of the city, crews were still rushing to assess the damage Thursday morning.

United Nations human rights monitors say at least 525 children have been killed and at least 1,047 injured in the war across Ukraine.

In his remarks a day earlier, Mr Zelensky made an emotional appeal, saying the killing of children should not be normalised.

“Russia killed – and that’s why I will use such words – Russia killed at least 483 children,” he said. “It killed them. This is not something that can be said ‘they were victims of Russian aggression’ or ‘they died as a result of armed conflict.’ No, Russia killed these children. Russia maimed nearly 1,000 more children.

He read from the diary of another child caught up in the war: Yehor, a 9-year-old boy from the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

“I have a wound on my back, the skin is torn,” the child wrote last year when the city was under siege by Russian forces, Mr. Zelensky said. “My sister has a head wound. My mom has torn flesh from her arms and bruises on her legs.

“My grandmother, Galya, two dogs and my favorite city Mariupol died,” the boy wrote, according to Mr. Zelensky.

The Ukrainian leader said his country is fighting for the rights of all children so that “new diaries of Anne Frank and Yehor never come from Mariupol again.”

“Where it’s safe,” he said. “Where it’s free.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button