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Eight children wounded in Ukraine gunfire — ombudsman

June 03, 2014, 13:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Around one thousand Ukrainian underage orphans are staying in the combat action zone, he says
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A child near a destroyed APC in east Ukraine

A child near a destroyed APC in east Ukraine

© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Pochuyev

MOSCOW, June 03. /ITAR-TASS/. The number of children wounded in combat actions in Ukraine has reached eight, Russian Presidential Children’s Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov told a news conference on Tuesday.

“According to the health care department of Donetsk regional authorities (east Ukraine) eight people have already been wounded from bullets and pieces of shells in Ukrainian army shelling,” Astakhov noted.

On May 30, the children’s ombudsman stated about seven children wounded in Ukrainian gunfire on residential districts in the city of Sloviansk, Donetsk Region.

He added that around one thousand Ukrainian underage orphans are staying in the combat action zone.

“As many as 90.7 thousand orphans are staying in Ukraine, around one thousand of them are in the zone of hostilities. Russian children’s institutions are prepared to receive and accommodate all Ukrainian orphans,” Astakhov said.

The number of addresses from the start of combat actions in Ukraine from families to the children’s ombudsman is growing every day. “The more Ukraine uses heavy weapons, the larger the number of refugees who ask for help to pass to Russia as the problem is that no humanitarian corridors had not been created yet,” Astakhov noted.

The children’s ombudsman added that border headquarters had been set up in regions bordering Ukraine where regional children’s rights commissioners work.


Coup in Ukraine

Political and economic turmoil has embraced Ukraine after a coup rocked the country in February following months of anti-government protests, often violent, triggered by President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to suspend the signing of an association agreement with the EU in November 2013 in order to study the deal more thoroughly.

Amid deadly riots that involved radicals in February 2014, new people were brought to power in Kiev. Yanukovych had to leave Ukraine citing security concerns the same month. Moscow does not recognize the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities, who appear unable to restrain radicals and ultranationalists.

Ukraine’s crisis deteriorated further when the Republic of Crimea, where most residents are Russians, reunified with Russia on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Crimea's reunification urge was caused by the republic's refusal to recognize the new Kiev authorities.

Massive protests against the new Ukrainian leaders erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking south-eastern regions in March after Crimea's merger with Russia.

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