Ukraine war live: Nearly two-thirds of country’s children have fled their homes, UNICEF says

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Ukraine war live: Nearly two-thirds of country's children have fled their homes, UNICEF says

A Ukrainian soldier walks with children passing destroyed cars due to the war against Russia in Bucha   —  

The war in Ukraine is now in its seventh week, and taking on a new dimension with growing evidence of human rights atrocities by Russian troops as they retreated from the Kyiv region and other parts of the country.

Despite Moscow’s blanket denials, horrific discoveries of civilian murders, torture and other barbaric acts continue coming to light, with Ukrainian authorities claiming tens of thousands of civilian casualties in Mariupol alone.

As Vladimir Putin’s forces are expected to begin a new big offensive on eastern Ukraine, Kyiv forces are digging in, while NATO and the EU promise more weapons to Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Western nations keep tightening sanctions against Moscow.

Follow Tuesday’s events as they unfold in our blog below, or watch TV coverage in the video player above.

06:35

Tuesday’s key points:

    4.8 million of Ukraine’s 7.5 million children have been displaced since the beginning of the Russian invasion on 24 February, UNICEF stated.

    Ukrainian authorities have accused the Kremlin of drafting a bill to fast-track the adoption of children taken from the occupied areas to Russia, including those who have parents and relatives.

    More than 10,000 civilians have been killed in Mariupol, the southern port city’s mayor claimed.

    Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said his discussion with Putin was ‘difficult’ on Monday after he became the first EU leader to visit Moscow since the start of the war

    In a video address, Zelenskyy says Ukrainians still want peace, despite the atrocities of war they have witnessed. Ukraine’s economy will shrink by 45.1% this year because of Russia’s invasion, the World Bank said.

    The US Pentagon said Russia is gearing up for an offensive in the eastern Donbas region, moving troops and material toward that area.

10:07

Two Caritas humanitarian workers among tank attack victims in downtown Mariupol

Two Caritas Ukraine staff were killed when a Russian tank fired a shell at the building hosting their office in the southern port city of Mariupol, the humanitarian organisation said on Monday evening.

Another five civilians who sought shelter at the office were also killed in the attack, Caritas Ukraine stated on Twitter.

09:51

Zelenskyy taking chemical weapons threats ‘as seriously as possible’

Kyiv is growing increasingly concerned about the threats of chemical weapons use by the Russian forces, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

This comes after the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic’s military spokesman Eduard Basurin’s statement advocating the use of «chemical troops» against the remaining Ukrainian units in Mariupol «to smoke (them) out of their holes».

«One of the mouthpieces of the occupiers stated that they could use chemical weapons against the defenders of Mariupol. We take this as seriously as possible,» Zelenskyy said in his nightly address on Monday.

«I want to remind the world leaders that the possible use of chemical weapons by the Russian military has already been discussed. And already at that time, it meant that it was necessary to react to the Russian aggression much tougher and faster,» he added.

07:07

Shelling of Kharkiv intensifies, at least eight civilians killed

The bombardment of the northeastern city of Kharkiv intensified on Monday, causing at least eight civilian deaths, including one child, local authorities said.

«The shelling of the regional centre continued this afternoon, in particular near ​​Kholodna Hora. A few hours ago, the aggressors shelled Saltivka again, hitting a 16-storey building,» Kharkiv regional administration head Oleh Synyehubov said on Telegram.

Synyehubov also stated that the Russian troops were using delayed-action mines scattered by artillery. The rescue crews found and deactivated at least 80 devices throughout Monday, he claimed.

07:00

4.8 million Ukrainian children displaced since Russia invaded Ukraine, UN agency says

Nearly two-thirds of all Ukrainian children have fled their homes in the six weeks since Russia’s invasion.

Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s emergency programs director who just returned from Ukraine, said having 4.8 million of Ukraine’s 7.5 million children displaced in such a short time is something he had not seen happen so quickly in 31 years of humanitarian work.

Fontaine said on Monday that of Ukraine’s refugee children, 2.8 million are displaced within Ukraine, and two million more are in other countries.

The UN has verified the deaths of 142 children since 24 February, although the number is almost certainly much higher.

06:56

Moscow created bill to speed up adoption of taken Ukrainian children, diplomat claims

Ukraine’s UN ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya claimed Russia has taken more than 121,000 children out of Ukraine and reportedly drafted a bill to simplify and accelerate adoption procedures for orphans and even those who have parents and other relatives.

Most of the children were removed from the besieged southern port city of Mariupol and taken to eastern Donetsk and then to the Russian city of Taganrog, according to Kyslytsya.

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