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Children in Ukraine Suffering From Conflict

A woman with her child and others pass body of the man, who died in a land mine explosion near a frontline crossing to Ukrainian government controlled territory, in the war conflict-hit Donetsk region, near Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Feb. 10, 2015.
UN Children's Fund: Children in Ukraine Suffering
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The United Nations Children’s Fund says more than one half-million children have been suffering over the past two years because of the Ukraine conflict.

Their rights are unprotected and their basic needs unmet, says UNICEF.

And the 580,000 children living near the areas controlled by Russian-supported rebels may suffer emotional problems for the rest of their lives.

Giovanna Barneris is the UNICEF representative in Ukraine. She told VOA that children are not being properly educated or housed, and cannot play. She said they have seen violence and fighting, and need psychological help.

She said it is cold in eastern Ukraine. Fuel shortages and the high cost of coal put children at risk of becoming sick. And she warned that diseases could increase because the area lacks health services and medicine.

She said children are also at risk of stepping on land mines or other unexploded devices. She told VOA there is no system for counting the number of children killed or hurt by these devices. She said information from the Ministry of Health is “unrealistic” and not reliable.

Soon after the conflict began, the Ukrainian government stopped sending support to people living in areas controlled by rebels. People who depend on those payments are hurting.

Barneris says the government has not restarted the payments, but Russia is trying to ease the suffering by giving money to people in the area.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Lisa Schlein in Geneva reported this story for Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted her report for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

basic – adj. forming or relating to the most important part of something

psychological – adj. of or relating to the mind

unrealistic – adj. not showing people and things as they are in real life

reliable – adj. able to be believed; likely to be true or correct