Ukraine and allies plan a peace summit. Russia has killed at least 483 children, Zelenskyi said, addressing a children’s rights conference in Kyiv ahead of the International Children’s Day.
Russia killed 483 children, Zelenskyi says in address on International Children’s Day
Fifteen months into the war, Russia has killed at least 483 Ukrainian children and maimed almost a thousand more, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi said, addressing the conference “UA: War. Broken Lullaby” ahead of the International Children’s Day.
The President quoted a diary of an eight-year-old boy, Yehor, from the besieged city of Mariupol that begins like this: “WAR. I slept well, woke up and smiled.”
“We live in a time when this is happiness for children. When there are air raid sirens every night, and just sleeping is happiness, it is valuable. When there are missile attacks every night, and waking up in the morning is truly priceless,” Zelenskyi said.
He offered other quotes from Yehor’s diary: “I have a wound on my back, the skin is torn off. My sister has a head wound. My mom has meat torn out of her arm and a wound on her leg.” The boy also wrote: “My grandmother Galya, two dogs, and my favorite city of Mariupol died.”
Russia violates children’s rights as it ruins the lives of the Ukrainians, Zelenskyi said.
“This has been going on for 15 months. For 15 months, Russian aggression and terror have been destroying not just buildings, but fundamental human rights — the fundamental rights of our children. The right to a safe environment, the right to education, the right to development, the right to health care, the right to rest, leisure, and, most importantly, the inalienable and most important right of a child to life. The right that Russia has taken away from at least 483 Ukrainian children, and these are just the fates we know for sure,” the Ukrainian President said.
“One should always call a spade a spade — and I am a supporter of this — not with certain official formulations, which, in my personal opinion, distort the truth, blur the essence and soften the horror of all that Russia has been doing.”
“Russia killed — this is the wording I will use — Russia killed at least 483 children. It did kill them. It would be untrue to say: ‘they fell victims to Russian aggression’ or ‘they were killed as a result of an armed conflict’. No, Russia killed these children. Russia maimed almost a thousand more. There is no way to say: ‘they were injured as a result of hostilities’.”
Russia has deliberately destroyed millions of homes. It would be untrue to say: “they lost their homes because of the hostilities,” Zelenskyi said.
A lot of Ukrainian cities and villages have been wiped off the earth. These are entire blocks, streets, and houses. Russia has buried “children’s rights” under the rubble, he said.
Russia has launched missile strikes on maternity hospitals in Mariupol and Kherson, destroyed more than a thousand kindergartens, nearly 1,300 schools, more than a thousand healthcare facilities, orphanages, rehabilitation centers, children’s libraries and sports schools across Ukraine, Zelenskyi said.
“Thousands and thousands of children were kidnapped, cut off from their lives, separated from their families and illegally deported to Russia. We still don’t know the exact number of these children, but we know that we have to return them all. We know that we must restore the rights and security for all Ukrainian children,” he said.
Only “a just victory”, full deoccupation of Ukraine’s territories, and lasting security will restore and enforce the rights of children, Zelenskyi told the conference.
Ukraine has been defending the free world and the rights of every child for nine years and 462 days, standing against Russia’s onslaught, he added.
“Since February 24, Children’s Day is every day for us. All 462 days of the full-scale war, 462 days of our battle, first of all, for our future, our children, their freedom, their life. [We fight] for Ukraine that we will leave to them, for Europe that we will build together, and for the world in which they will live freely. Today we are fighting for what this world will look like,” the President said.
Ukraine and allies plan peace summit
Ukraine and its allies are planning a summit of global leaders that would exclude Russia, aimed at garnering support for Kyiv’s terms for ending the war, The Wall Street Journal said, quoting a senior Ukrainian presidential adviser and European diplomats.
Plans for a gathering, while preliminary, have strong support from European leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron who are lobbying for participation by countries that have sided with Russia or declined to take a position on the war.
Western diplomats hope that the meeting can take place shortly before NATO’s annual summit that starts in Vilnius on July 11.
Andriy Yermak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, told The Wall Street Journal that direct negotiations with Russia weren’t possible as long as its troops remain in the country. Ukraine won’t compromise on its territorial integrity, he said.
“We require a unified plan of the responsible civilized world that really wants to live in peace,” Yermak added.
European officials say they are working with Kyiv to recraft Ukraine’s 10-point peace plan in ways that will make it more acceptable to other global powers such as India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and China.
Volodymyr Zelenskyi first laid out a 10-point peace plan at the G20 summit in November 2022. The plan calls for restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, withdrawal of Russian forces, release of all prisoners, creating a special tribunal to prosecute Russia for the crime of aggression, and security guarantees for Ukraine.
Addressing the European Council in March, Zelenskyi called for a peace summit to be hosted in a European capital.
The first foreign representative office of the Ukrainian Institute. Ukraine in Flames #447
Two months ago, the inaugural branch of the Ukrainian Institute was opened in Berlin. Its primary objectives include fostering a deeper comprehension of Ukraine within German society and promoting Ukrainian culture. In this episode, we’ve had the opportunity to interview all four employees of the first foreign representative office of the Ukrainian Institute in Berlin. Watch Ukraine in flames #447 to find out about insights into their experiences thus far, understand their aspirations, and explore their cultural initiatives for future diplomatic endeavors representing Ukraine internationally.
- Kateryna Rietz-Rakul, Head of the Representative Office of the Ukrainian Institute in Germany
- Maria Zoryk, Communication Manager of the Ukrainian Institute in Germany
- Natalia Druhak, Communication Manager of the Ukrainian Institute in Germany
- Vitalina Buran, Project Manager of the Ukrainian Institute in Germany