Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy used his nightly address Sunday to remember the children who have died “as the result of Russian aggression” since 2014, including a 2-year-old girl in the Dnipro region late Saturday.
“Today in our country is the day of remembrance for children who died as a result of Russian aggression. Since 2014. Children who would have been alive if a bunch of thugs in the Kremlin, in Moscow, hadn’t considered themselves chieftains who allegedly had the right to decide the fate of nations,” Zelenskyy said.
Zelenskyy said that 485 children have lost their lives from Russian attacks.
“This is a number that we can officially confirm, knowing the data of each child. The real number is much higher,” he said.
He also noted the 19,505 Ukrainian children who have been deported to Russia and are still “in the hands of the enemy.”
Zelenskyy said five children were among 25 people wounded in Saturday’s attack, which damaged two residential buildings in Pidhorodne, in the Dnipro region. The body of the 2-year-old, identified as Liza, was pulled from the rubble on Saturday.
The United Nations says that around 1,000 other Ukrainian children have been wounded.
Russian soldiers captured
Also Sunday, a pro-Ukraine group of Russian partisans alleged it had captured several Russian soldiers during a cross-border raid into southern Russia and would hand them over to Ukrainian authorities, Reuters reported.
The Freedom of Russia Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps, a pro-Ukraine group of Russian partisans, have claimed responsibility for a flurry of cross-border attacks into Russia’s Belgorod region.
In a video released on the Freedom of Russia’s channel on the messaging app Telegram, a man identifying himself as the commander of the Russian Volunteer Corps showed what appeared to be around a dozen Russian soldiers being held captive, two of them lying on hospital beds.
The commander demanded a meeting with the governor of Belgorod, Vyacheslav Gladkov, in exchange for the captives.
“Today until 17:00 you have the opportunity to communicate without weapons and take home two Russian citizens, ordinary soldiers whom you and your political leadership sent to the slaughter,” read a joint statement posted along with the video.
Three hours later, Gladkov agreed to meet with the group provided the soldiers were still alive.
But in a later video the Corps member said Gladkov had not turned up at the designated meeting place.
“We have already decided the fate of these guys,” he said. “They will be transferred to the Ukrainian side for the exchange procedure.”
Ukraine has denied direct involvement in the cross-border attacks.
Kyiv bomb shelters
During the first day of inspections ordered by President Zelenskyy, many of the more than 1,000 Kyiv bomb shelters checked were found inaccessible or unsuitable for use, Oleksandr Kamyshin, minister of strategic industries, said on Sunday.
In a post on Telegram, Kamyshin expressed his “disbelief” at the findings. Kamyshin said that out of 1,078 shelters examined, 359 were unprepared and another 122 locked, while 597 were found to be usable.
An inspection of all Ukrainian shelters was ordered Friday, a day after three civilians were killed in Kyiv while trying to enter a locked facility in the early hours of the morning during a Russian airstrike.
Thursday’s deaths caused a public outcry and a promise of a harsh response by Zelenskyy, which appeared aimed at Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, who has clashed with the president before.
Klitschko acknowledged at a local committee meeting Friday, that he bore some responsibility but said others were also to blame, particularly allies of the president who had been appointed to lead the city’s districts.
The interior ministry said that more than 5,300 volunteers, including emergency workers, police officers and local officials, would continue to inspect shelters across the country.
For a second year, top Russian and Belarusian tennis players may not be able to compete at Wimbledon next month. Players from those nations were banned from competing at Wimbledon last summer after Russia’s invasion on Ukraine, but since then the ban has been lifted.
Still some players from these countries say they face delays in receiving the necessary paperwork to gain an entry visa into the United Kingdom in addition to increased security checks.
On the women’s side, two of the top 10 players are from those countries. No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka is from Belarus, and No. 9 Daria Kasatkina is Russian.
Among the men, No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and No. 7 Andrey Rublev are from Russia.
Wimbledon will be played July 3-16 in London.