Ukraine’s prosecutor general says over 400 children killed in war to date

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KYIV, Nov 19 (Reuters) – At least 437 Ukrainian children have been killed as a result of Russia’s invasion, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s office said on Saturday.

More than 837 children have also been injured in a tally officials said was “not final” because they were still verifying information from zones of active fighting, liberated areas and territory still occupied by Russian forces.

The eastern Donetsk region was the most affected, with 423 children killed or injured, the prosecutor’s office said.

The United Nations has said at least 16,295 civilians have been killed since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, which Kyiv and Western leaders have denounced as an act of unprovoked aggression. Moscow denies targeting civilians.

In Other Developments

CONFLICT

* Hundreds of people were detained or went missing in Ukraine’s Kherson region while it was under Russian control, and dozens may have been tortured, Yale University researchers have concluded in a report backed by the U.S. State Department. Russia has denied its forces have committed abuses.

* Russia’s defence ministry said Ukraine had executed more than 10 Russian prisoners of war. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine, which has vowed to investigate any alleged abuses by its forces.

* Ukrainian forces have repelled about 100 attacks in eastern Donetsk region in the past 24 hours, with no letup in the fighting, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

* Ukraine’s military said Russian forces had fired artillery on the towns of Bakhmut, and nearby Soledar and Bilohorivka in the east. Russian fire had also hit areas near Avdiivka and in Zaporizhzhia region in southern Ukraine.

Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield reports.

DIPLOMACY

* Russia said it hoped to clinch a prisoner swap with the United States to return convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, known as the “Merchant of Death”, in an exchange that would likely include U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner.

* Russia is open to more high-level talks with the United States, a top diplomat said on Friday, but the Kremlin dismissed the idea of a summit between President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden as “out of the question” for now.

* Former Moldovan President Igor Dodon, who faces a series of criminal charges, was released from house arrest on Friday and vowed to take part in protests against the current pro-Western leader of the ex-Soviet state, sandwiched between Ukraine and EU member Romania.

ECONOMY

* A senior U.N. official welcomed the extension by four months of a deal aimed at easing global food shortages by helping Ukraine export its agricultural products from Black Sea ports, but said there was still work to be done.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the idea of creating a Turkish “gas hub” with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during a phone call, the Kremlin said on Friday.

* Russia’s energy exports to China have increased in value by 64% this year, and by 10% in volume as Moscow redirects shipments towards “friendly” nations, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday.

QUOTE

“Very fierce fighting is continuing in Donetsk region … there is no letup in the fighting. There has been no lull,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

“In the 24 hours, about 100 Russian attacks have been repelled in Donetsk region.”

A mural depicts a girl holding a Ukrainian flag, in Paris, France. The mural was painted by French street artist Emyarts. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

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