Oct 2, 2022 - World

Ukraine first lady: "Hundreds of children dead," 900 schools damaged due to war

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska being interviewed on CBS' "60 Minutes."

Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska being interviewed on CBS' "60 Minutes." Photo: CBS News/"60 Minutes."

Hundreds of hospitals and schools in Ukraine have been devastated by bombings in acts of "terrorism" since Russia's military launched its invasion, Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday evening.

What she's saying: Zelenska told CBS' Scott Pelley during their interview in Kyiv that since the war began nearly 500 hospitals and clinics have been struck and entire cities destroyed — along with about 150 schools. 900 schools have been damaged.

  • "Half [our] families are separated" due to the war and "people are afraid" to leave their homes because of shelling, said Zelenka via a translator.
  • "We have thousands of dead," Zelenska added. "Hundreds of children are dead."

Meanwhile, Putin's forces were trying to "frighten people to make them run, to have towns and villages empty so they can occupy these territories," Zelenska said.

  • "The war is being waged using modern means, but from the moral and ethical point of view, [it's] the Middle Ages," she said.

The big picture: The latest World Health Organization figures show health care facilities have been attacked more than 500 times since Putin's forces began waging their war on Ukraine in February.

  • Unicef executive director Catherine Russell found after visiting Ukraine last month "thousands of schools across the country" were damaged or destroyed and less than 60% per cent of schools were deemed safe and eligible to reopen.
  • Russell noted in a statement that 4 million children in Ukraine began a new school year in September "uncertain if their teachers and friends will be there to welcome them" and many parents were hesitant to send their children back, "not knowing if they will be safe."

Of note: Though the Kremlin has repeatedly denied that its forces have targeted civilians or civilian facilities, the United Nations announced last month its initial investigation into the invasion has found evidence of war crimes in Ukraine.

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