Kyiv cancels some Children’s Day events as Ukraine loses another young life.

“War. I slept well, woke up and smiled.”

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine read those opening words from “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank at a conference focusing on children on Wednesday afternoon as he sought to highlight the toll that Russia’s invasion of his country has taken on its youngest citizens: In 15 months of war, he said, at least 483 children had been killed, and other estimates suggest that the toll is even higher.

“When there are air-raid sirens every night, and just sleeping is happiness, it is valuable,” he said. “When there are missile attacks every night and waking up in the morning is truly priceless.”

Hours after he spoke, a 9-year-old girl and her 34-year-old mother were woken in the predawn hours by the wail of an air-raid alarm in Kyiv, the police said. The two raced to what they thought would be the safety of a bomb shelter at a children’s hospital in the city, but, according to Mayor Vitali Klitschko, they died just outside the door.

Russian ballistic missiles had been flying toward the city at around five times the speed of sound as the two stood outside the hospital building, the police said. Just minutes after the alarm sounded, according to the mayor, one of the missiles was struck by a Ukrainian interceptor missile in the skies above, and the child and her mother were killed by the fiery debris. As dawn broke, the child’s grandmother arrived to identify the bodies.

The girl’s death, in the early hours of International Children’s Day in Ukraine, served as a reminder that the most innocent are among those paying a high price in the war. It also sparked renewed outrage across Ukraine.

A 33-year-old woman was also killed by falling debris nearby, according to the police, and at least 16 people were injured, the mayor said.

In his remarks, Mr. Zelensky had made an emotional appeal, saying the killing of children should not become normalized.

“Russia killed — and this is why I will use such wording — Russia killed 483 children at least,” he said. “It killed them. This is not something that can be called ‘they were victims of Russian aggression’ or ‘they died as a result of the armed conflict.’ No, Russia killed these children. Russia maimed almost 1,000 more children.”

Mr. Zelensky’s decision to quote from Anne Frank’s diary was particularly poignant because he is Ukraine’s first Jewish president. Ms. Frank was a teenager when she hid from the Nazis for more than two years during the World War II-era occupation of the Netherlands and kept a diary that went on to become an international best seller.

But his quote from her diary also served as a tacit rebuke of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who has used the spurious argument that Russia is fighting Nazis in Ukraine to justify his full-scale invasion.

The Ukrainian president also read from the diary of another child caught in the maelstrom of war: Yehor, a 9-year-old boy from the city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine.

“I have a wound on my back, the skin is torn off,” the child wrote while the city was under siege by Russian forces last year, as Mr. Zelensky relayed. “My sister has a head wound. My mom has flesh torn out of her arm and a wound on her leg.”

“My grandmother, Galya, two dogs, and my favorite city of Mariupol died,” the boy wrote, according to Mr. Zelensky.

The Ukrainian leader said that his country was fighting for the rights of all children so that “there will never again be new diaries by Anne Frank and Yehor from Mariupol.”

“Where it is safe,” he said. “Where it is free.”

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Mohammad SHiblu

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