KIEV, June 23 (RIA Novosti) — More than 40 children have died from shrapnel and bullet wounds in the eastern part of Ukraine’s Donetsk Basin (Donbas) that has been swept by violent clashes, the head of the country’s parliamentary committee on health said Monday.
“Now the numbers have started on the deaths of children: more than 40 children have died from shrapnel wounds. That is from shrapnel after explosions in windows next to which children were located. Innocent children have been hit with bullets to their hearts, which brings immediate death," Tatyana Bahteyeva stated, as quoted by Ukraine’s UNN information service.
Russian Children’s Rights Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said Saturday a bus carrying 36 Ukrainian children was shelled while crossing the border. Earlier on Friday, Astakhov also said at least five children had lost their lives as a result of the extensive military operation in eastern Ukraine.
United Nations children’s fund UNICEF reported in early June that seven children had been injured in the fighting in the east of Ukraine since May 9. UNICEF noted the crisis is having an increasing impact on children and urged all the parties to stop the violence.
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of refugees crossing the border to Russia since the beginning of June, as Kiev authorities have stepped up their military operation, which has deprived families of peace and claimed the lives of children. The violent clashes between the national army and fighters for independence have resulted in hundreds of casualties, including civilians. Residents of the conflict-ridden areas have asked to evacuate their children and find them asylum.
Over 200 temporary accommodation centers have been established in southern and central Russia for the refugees, including tent camps. There are currently 12,800 people at temporary accommodation centers, including over 5,300 children.