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    Ukrainian servicemen ride in an armored vehicle, with Ukrainian and U.S. flags and nationalist group Right Sector flag, near a destroyed car in Shyrokyne, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, April 15, 2015

    UNICEF: Landmines Put Thousands of Children at Risk in Eastern Ukraine

    © AP Photo / Evgeniy Maloletka
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    Eastern Ukraine has now become one of the most dangerous places in the world because it is riddled with landmines that endanger more than 200,000 children, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in a press release issued on Wednesday.

    On average, from January to November of this year, there was 1 conflict-related child casualty per week along eastern Ukraine’s contact line, the release added.

    "Eastern Ukraine is now one of the most mine-contaminated places on earth, endangering 220,000 children who live, play and go to and from school in areas littered with landmines, unexploded ordnance and other deadly explosive remnants of war," the release said.

    UNICEF said that unexploded ordnance, landmines and explosive remnants were the number one cause of child casualties. "Encounters with these explosives leaves children alive but with lifelong injuries including the loss of limbs," the release said.

    UNICEF urged all parties to the conflict in eastern Ukraine to recommit to the ceasefire signed in Minsk to allow for landmine clearance and recovery of unexploded ordnance.

    A violent military conflict in Ukraine started in 2014 after residents of the eastern Donbas region refused to recognize the new Ukrainian government that came to power in what they perceived to be a coup. In February 2015, the parties to the Ukrainian conflict signed the Minsk peace accords to end the fighting in the crisis-torn region, but the situation in the region has nevertheless remained tense.

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    Tags:
    explosions, crisis, conflict, risks, casualties, children, landmines, UNICEF, Ukraine
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