According to UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Regional Director Regina De Dominicis, bombardment in Ukraine has been “particularly unrelenting” in the east and south of the country. The past week has seen an increase in ballistic missiles and mass drone attacks, causing injuries among children and leaving millions without sustained access to electricity, heating, and water. Winter temperatures regularly go as low as -20°C, making it extremely challenging for health facilities to provide critical services. UNICEF is providing generators, winter clothing sets, blankets, and cash assistance to support the affected areas.
Blackouts and power cuts pose a significant challenge to health facilities, given the rise in cases of pneumonia, seasonal influenza, and waterborne diseases among children in Ukraine. Around 1,800 children have been killed or injured since the escalation of the war in February 2022.
Jailed Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny’s whereabouts have been unknown for over 10 days, which amounts to enforced disappearance, according to UN Special Rapporteur Mariana Katzarova. She expressed great concern over the Russian authorities’ failure to disclose Navalny’s location and wellbeing for such a prolonged period. Navalny’s lawyers were informed by the court that he is no longer held in the Vladimir region. Katzarova cited concerns about his ill-treatment in detention and lack of access to adequate medical care. Navalny was sentenced to an additional 19 years on “extremism” charges, which the independent expert argues has no basis in international law.
The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs has selected 100 young people from over 60 countries to serve on the Youth Leader Fund for a World without Nuclear Weapons. They will spend the next year learning about nuclear disarmament and developing their skills to become changemakers. The program includes online learning, engagement with experts, and a study tour to Japan, culminating in a youth-led conference. The participants received messages of encouragement from Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who emphasized the importance of youth in achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.