Ukrainian children suffer in Russia's war

·4 min read
Be advised: The following contains visual coverage of scenes of injury or death.
Be advised: The following contains visual coverage of scenes of injury or death.

In the three weeks since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine, innocent children and their mothers have not been spared from the ravages of war — and many have been slain as they shelter or flee for their lives.

On Wednesday, a theater in Mariupol — where hundreds of people had been taking shelter in the besieged coastal city — was bombed by a Russian airstrike, according to local authorities. Satellite pictures show that the theater was marked with large white letters that read “CHILDREN” in Russian.

Last week, Ukrainian officials said “several bombs” were dropped on a children’s hospital in the same city — leaving three people dead, including a 6-year-old girl.

“A children’s hospital. A maternity hospital. How did they threaten the Russian Federation?” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked in a video address. “What kind of country is this, the Russian Federation, which is afraid of hospitals, afraid of maternity hospitals, and destroys them?”

Viewed from above, the Mariupol Drama Theater with Russian Cyrillic lettering painted on the street identified with superimposed red arrows and circles.
This satellite image shows a theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, marked with large white letters that read "CHILDREN" in Russian. (Digitally enhanced by Yahoo News; photo: Maxar Technologies via AP)

Zelensky said on Wednesday that since the launch of Russia’s onslaught last month, at least 103 children have been killed. But the death toll is expected to be higher, especially once the devastation in blockaded cities like Mariupol is assessed. Most of the known deaths took place in the cities of Kyiv, Kherson, Kharkiv and Donetsk, the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office said.

Of the more than 3 million Ukrainians who have fled the country seeking safe refuge, some 1.5 million are children, according to the United Nations, which calculated that roughly every second, a child in Ukraine is becoming a war refugee. Now, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder said, it’s feared those children on the run from their war-torn homes are prey for human traffickers.

Children under fire

Two children huddle together surrounded by a blanket.
The children of medical workers warm themselves in a blanket as they wait for their relatives in a hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 4. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)
A child is carried on a stroller across by a couple on an improvised path. All are wearing cold weather clothing.
A child is carried on a stroller across an improvised path while fleeing Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, March 9. (Felipe Dana/AP)
Medics perform CPR on a girl, surrounded by health care workers.
Medics perform CPR on a girl injured during the shelling of a residential area, in the city hospital of Mariupol on Feb. 27. The girl did not survive. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)
The lifeless body of a girl lies on a medical cart in a bare hospital room.
The lifeless body of a girl killed during shelling at a residential area lies on a medical cart at the city hospital of Mariupol, Feb. 27. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)
Servicemen carry a baby in a stroller.
Servicemen carry a baby during the evacuation from Irpin on March 9. (Mykhaylo Palinchak/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A woman reacts as paramedics perform CPR on a girl.
A woman reacts as paramedics perform CPR on a girl who was injured during shelling, at the city hospital of Mariupol on Feb. 27. The girl did not survive. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)
A child sleeps in an armchair as other stand around in a shelter.
A child sleeps in an armchair as others stand around in a shelter during Russian shelling, in Mariupol, Feb. 24. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)
A soldier carries a child, clutching stuffed animals, through rubble.
Citizens of Irpin flee the bombardments of the Russian army, March 6. (Laurent Van der Stockt for Le Monde via Getty Images)
A couple stands over a hospital cart carrying a lifeless body.
Marina Yatsko, left, and her boyfriend Fedor mourn over her 18-month-old son Kirill's lifeless body, killed in shelling, as he lies on a stretcher in a hospital in Mariupol on March 4. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)
Children huddle together on blankets.
Children in a bomb shelter in Mariupol, March 6. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)
A toy and a notebook lie among brick rubble.
A toy and a notebook lie by a house that was hit with a missile on Feb. 26, in Kyiv. (Anastasia Vlasova/Getty Images)
A child looks on as residents evacuate.
A child looks on as residents evacuate the city of Irpin during heavy shelling and bombing on March 5. (Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images)
A police officer shines a light at what appear to be two lifeless bodies beneath blankets.
A police officer shows the covered bodies of children killed by shelling at a hospital in Mariupol on Tuesday. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)
Medical workers wearing rubber gloves, some in face masks, try to save the life of a child on a hospital table..
Medical workers unsuccessfully try to save the life of Marina Yatsko's 18-month-old son, Kirill, who was fatally wounded by shelling, at a hospital in Mariupol, March 4. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)
Two women and two children sit on the floor against a white wall.
Women and children sit on the floor of a corridor in a hospital in Mariupol on March 11. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)
A man sits with his arms on a medical stretcher covered with a blood-stained blanket.
Serhii, father of teenager Iliya, cries over his son's lifeless body lying on a stretcher at a maternity hospital converted into a medical ward, in Mariupol on March 2. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)
A medical worker holds a newborn baby wrapped in a blanket.
A medical worker holds a newborn girl, Alana, who was born by cesarian section in a hospital in Mariupol on March 11. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)
A child's soft toy hangs from metal bars of a window.
A child's soft toy hangs from window bars in a destroyed apartment block after it was shelled in the Obolon district of Kyiv on Monday. (Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images)

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