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Some one million victims

Do our children need the war victim status?
13 September, 11:58

Ukrainian authorities propose to grant the children of families with ATO combatants/KIAs/ POWs the war/combat conflict victim status.

Experts say this is a strategic project, considering that Ukraine claims it is at war with Russia, and the number or children as war victims is still to be established. This data will be important when filing a damage claim vs. Russia on an international level; this victim status is granted ad vitam aeternam – in other words, for life.

Volodymyr VOVK, Deputy Head of the Social Policy Ministry’s Children Rights Protection and Adoption Department: “Our social services have done a good deal of hard work. A total of 35,000 Ukrainian children have been covered and the victim status paperwork is nearing completion. In other words, we’ve covered one-tenth of the total number of those entitled to this status. I mean 240,000 children plus over 400,000 who are in the territories out of our control [i.e., territories under Russia’s control – Ed.], along with some two thousand children whose parents were killed in action or are ATO veterans. Add here those aged 18 [having come of age under Ukrainian legislation – Ed.], but who were minors when the war broke out.”

Today, the best such families can expect from the state is “social support” and nothing in terms of privileges and payments. When asked, officials explain that the number of such children has to be ascertained in the first place. Then they can be granted this status, along with feasibility studies. Parents, aware of this red tape, knowing that no payments will be forthcoming, are in no hurry to submit the required documents.

Oleksandra MAHUROVA, Ministry of Social Policy’s Advisor for Internal Resettlers: “We must launch a large-scale information campaign, so the children entitled to this status can apply for and receive it. This status doesn’t mean a narrow social guarantee, it is strategic. I believe that such a campaign should be carried out using institutions of learning. After that we could work out the algorithms of aid for the children.”

Under the Ukrainian Cabinet’s resolution, a minor who is a “victim of the war conflict,” can apply for this status single-handedly, on reaching 14 years of age (in the presence of the required documents). Experts say that this is all about having the right to get this status, not about being obliged to receive it.

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