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Ukrainian mothers are writing contact info on kids’ backs in case they’re killed: Report

A woman holds her child as they wait for the next train to Poland at the main station in Lviv, Ukraine, on March 19, 2022. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
April 05, 2022

A Ukrainian journalist tweeted an image this week of an alleged Ukrainian child with contact information penned in blue ink on her back, which was allegedly written by her mother in case she is killed in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“Ukrainian mothers are writing their family contacts on the bodies of their children in case they get killed and the child survives. And Europe is still discussing gas,” Ukrainian journalist Anastasiia Lapatina tweeted along with the photo.

According to UNICEF, a United Nations agency providing humanitarian aid to children globally, two million children have “been forced to flee Ukraine” amid the Russian invasion.

“The situation inside Ukraine is spiralling,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said in a statement. “As the number of children fleeing their homes continues to climb, we must remember that every single one of them needs protection, education, safety and support.” 

Half of the refugees from the war between Russia and Ukraine are children, UNICEF reported, and over 1.1 million children have traveled to Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

As hundreds of thousands of children are displaced by the conflict, the United Nations agency warns of a “heightened risk of trafficking and exploitation.” As a result, UNICEF is urging governments and other authorities to bolster protective measures to keep children safe.

UNICEF also believes more than 2.5 million have been “internally displaced” in Ukraine, and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has confirmed over 100 children have been killed. At least 134 children have also been injured, but UNICEF estimates that the “true toll is likely to be much higher.”

“UNICEF is also deeply concerned for children and families stranded in, or unable to leave, encircled areas due to heightened security risks and lack of safe exit routes. Reports of severe shortages of food, water, heat and other basic essentials continue to increase, highlighting the importance of safe, unfettered humanitarian access to all areas of the country,” the agency’s website states.

As of last week, UNICEF has sent 114 trucks carrying over 1,200 tons of emergency supplies to children and families in Ukraine and nearby countries.  

“63 trucks of supplies have arrived in Ukraine, which will address the needs of over 8 million people including 2 million children,” UNICEF’s website adds. “The supplies include medicines and medical equipment, winter clothes for children, and hygiene, educational, early childhood development, and recreational kits.”