During war and conflicts, children are the most vulnerable. Over 400 million children are said to be living in war-stricken areas globally. UNICEF says, during conflicts, “children are especially vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and trafficking.” Conflicts such as the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war haven’t spared children either.
The latest was a Russian airstrike that targeted a maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol. This attack has sparked condemnation. In a tweet, the United Nations termed this attack as “senseless.”
In the meantime, an image of children caught in the middle of these conflicts has been making rounds on the internet. It shows two children holding hands, with claims that they were seeing off Ukrainian soldiers to war.
While war classifies children caught up in these conflicts as victims, there are noticeable instances where they can either be; child soldiers or imprisoned children. Child soldiers, apart from being an armed combatant, can also act as a spy, cook, porter, messenger or even a wife. All roles that negatively impact their lives.
The most recent in these were reports of children detained in Moscow for taking flowers to Ukraine’s embassy.
A report on The Humanium news website says, despite these children actively or passively being involved in war, they are “protected, not only in a general war as a person not participating in hostilities, but also benefits from special protection by reason of the quality of being particularly vulnerable.”
Reverse image searches reveal that these children made headlines in 2016 according to 24Tv. This image taken by Дмитрий Муравский (Dmytro Muravsky) was shared in a collection of photos he referred to as ‘Children of War.’ on March 22, 2016. This collection showed the interaction between these children and the Russian soldiers.
These children were not caught up in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
This story was produced by Africa Uncensored in partnership with Code for Africa with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie.