Mar 24, 2022 - World

UNICEF: Over half of Ukraine's children displaced since Russian invasion began

Picture of women and children boarding a train

People, mainly women and children, board a train at Przemysl station in Poland as they continue their journey from war-torn Ukraine on March 23. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has led to the displacement of more than half of the country's children, UNICEF said Thursday.

Driving the news: 4.3 million children have been displaced, over half of the estimated 7.5 million children living in the country prior to the invasion. Additionally, 78 children have died since the start of the invasion on Feb. 24, UNICEF said, citing the UN human rights office.

  • The 4.3 million figure includes more than 1.8 million children who have fled to neighboring countries.

The big picture: Overall, more than 3.6 million refugees have fled Ukraine, according to United Nations data.

  • The UN refugee agency has said the exodus represents the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.
  • UNICEF has called on countries accepting refugees from Ukraine to establish stronger safeguards at border crossings for children who now face a greater risk of human trafficking.

What they're saying: "The war has caused one of the fastest large-scale displacements of children since World War II," UNICEF executive director Catherine Russell said in a statement.

  • "This is a grim milestone that could have lasting consequences for generations to come. Children’s safety, well-being and access to essential services are all under threat from nonstop horrific violence."
  • "Children urgently need peace and protection. They need their rights," Russell added.

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