At least 45 schools damaged in Donbas since early 2017 – UNICEF
The United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, says at least 45 schools have been damaged over the last 16 months, i.e. since early 2017.
"At least 45 schools have been damaged or destroyed over the last 16 months. This is in addition to more than 700 schools damaged since the conflict began," UNICEF said in a statement released on May 4, according to the Ukrainian-language service of Germany's Deutsche Welle (DW).
"UNICEF and partners have monitored at least eight instances where military and armed groups' sites are within 500 meters from a kindergarten or school, and two separate locations where schools and these sites are only a few meters apart. Since the beginning of the current school year, UNICEF has monitored six former school buildings that have been occupied or used by military or armed groups," reads the statement.
Moreover, some 200,000 girls and boys are forced to learn in militarized environments, amid volatile fighting and dangers due to unexploded weapons of war.
"Children are learning in schools with bullet holes in the walls and sandbags in windows, bomb shelters in the basements and shrapnel in school yards," said UNICEF Ukraine Representative Giovanna Barberis.
Children also face dangers due to the proximity of military sites, such as bases, storage facilities and security check points, to schools and kindergartens along both sides of eastern Ukraine's contact line.