Paying the terrible price for a war not of their making
Anna is one of Ukraine’s 7.5 million children who are caught in the middle of the conflict. There is no safe place in Ukraine, and the situation is changing by the hour. Children face risks of being harmed by guns, landmines, and explosive weapons.
As explosions and street fighting ramp up in cities, children and families are forced into basements and bomb shelters. Parents are reporting trying to calm their terrified children. Some are showing significant signs of distress and have trouble sleeping. The risk to their mental health and the potential for long-term trauma cannot be underestimated.
As the conflict intensified, thousands fled the capital as temperatures dropped below freezing. Displaced children are at risk of facing long nights and days exposed to brutal conditions.
Children and families from dozens of nationalities, including migrant workers and students living in Ukraine are facing acute challenges as they attempt to leave conflict-affected areas, cross borders into neighbouring countries and seek life-saving assistance. Save the Children is very concerned about reports of racial discrimination they are facing at the border on their way out of Ukraine.
Ukrainian families and children crossing the border into Romania to escape conflict
Photo: Camelia Iordache/Salvati Copiii (Save the Children) Romania
“It should never have come to this”
Save the Children is gravely concerned for children like Anna caught in the middle of this armed conflict, forced from their homes, and exposed to injury, hunger and cold.
Irina Saghoyan, Save the Children’s Eastern Europe Director, said, “What we’re seeing unfold in Ukraine could become Europe’s biggest humanitarian emergency since 2015, when an influx of refugees arrived in Europe after fleeing conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. More than 500,000 people, have already fled Ukraine with fears that number could grow to as many as 5 million.
“We are seeing humanitarian needs soar at an alarming rate. We are also still experiencing cold weather, so displacement brings even greater risk. These children have experienced things no child should ever be exposed to.”