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Pope Francis greets a group of Ukrainian children at the end of his weekly general audience in the Vatican audience hall in February (CNS/Vatican Media)

Just shy of 550 children have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the war following Russia’s invasion on February 24, 2022, according to an international humanitarian organisation. Source: Vatican News. 

Save the Children, which is dedicated to helping children and protecting their rights, has been operating in Ukraine since 2014, delivering humanitarian aid to children and their families affected by hostilities. It is also supporting refugee families across Europe and helping children access education and other critical services.

In a recent statement, the charitable organisation lamented that child casualties in the country, increased by more than 7 per cent between May to August, compared to the previous four months, as air and drone attacks tripled. Since May 2023, according to UN data, a total of 148 children have been killed or injured in Ukraine, bringing the number of child casualties since the escalation of war last year to more than 1700.

This includes 545 deaths, with 24 children killed this northern summer.

According to verified United Nations data, there was an increase in all civilian casualties in Ukraine in between May 1 and August 13, with June recording the highest number of total civilian casualties in 2023 at 865.

Save the Children’s Advocacy Director in Ukraine, Amjad Yamin, decried that “eighteen months into full-scale war,” there “seems to be no reprieve from the perilous circumstances endured by children and families.

“We have witnessed numerous attacks on populated areas that took the lives of children and their parents, left hundreds of people injured or severely distressed, and damaged or destroyed homes, plunging thousands of families into uncertainty,” Mr Yamin said.

Ukraine is at the heart of Pope Francis’ prayers and appeals, with the Pope this week renewing calls for prayer for the war-torn country. 


Nearly 550 Ukrainian children killed over 18 months of war (By Deborah Castellano Lubov, Vatican News)