3 April 2023 - Ukraine


Damaged building in Kyiv
A damaged residential building is seen after an attack in the town of Rzhyshiv located near Kyiv (Save the Children / Vladyslav Musienko)


KYIV, 3 April 2023 – The number of children confirmed killed in Ukraine has passed 500 after more than 13 months of full-scale war, Save the Children said today.

Since February 2022, at least one child has been killed every day in Ukraine, according to Save the Children's analysis of verified UN data. As of April 2, at least 501 children have been killed and 991 have been injured in hostilities, most of whom are 12 or older. The actual numbers, though, are feared to be significantly higher.

Explosive weapons with wide area effect are the predominant cause of children's casualties in Ukraine. In the first year of full-scale war, 404 children were killed by shelling, missiles and drone strikes, and 850 more were injured. Most casualties occurred in Kharkiv and Donetsk regions where active combat has been continuous since last February.

As fighting and shelling continue across urban centres in the east and south of the country, and the threat of airstrikes carries on nationwide, many boys and girls are still sheltering in the basements of residential buildings that are coming under attack. According to Save the Children, last year children in Ukraine were forced to spend more than 900 hours on average – or 38.3 days – in underground bunkers.

Sonia Khush, Save the Children's Country Director in Ukraine, said:

"Half a thousand children killed is yet another tragic milestone reached in this war. This is 500 more than it should be. Innocent girls and boys are still being injured and killed every day in Ukraine where violence, including the use of explosive weapons in urban areas, looms on the horizon.

"As a result, there have been three times as many child casualties through the first year of the war compared to the previous eight years of conflict in the east of the country. Children in Ukraine have also experienced immense psychological distress because of violence and instability — many have been separated from their parents, or seen their loved ones killed or injured. The world must act now and do whatever it takes to protect the most vulnerable of human beings."

Save the Children is calling on all sides to adhere to obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, and ensure that civilians and civilian objects, especially those impacting children such as homes, schools, and hospitals, are protected from attack.

Inside Ukraine, Save the Children and local partners are providing shelter, food, cash, fuel, psychological support, and baby and hygiene kits to displaced families.

Save the Children has been operating in Ukraine since 2014, delivering humanitarian aid to children and their families. It is now supporting refugee families across Europe and helping children to access education and other critical services.

We stand side by side with children in the world's toughest places.