Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials have offered condolences after 19 children and two teachers were killed in a gun massacre at a school in Texas, saying that Ukraine shared the pain of losing children to senseless violence.
Zelenskyy tweeted on Wednesday to say that he was “deeply saddened” by the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
“Sincere condolences to the families of the victims, the people of the US and @POTUS over this tragedy,” he wrote. “The people of Ukraine share the pain of the relatives and friends of the victims and all Americans.”
On Tuesday, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos carried out one of the deadliest school shootings in US history, entering an elementary school with a handgun, rifle, backpack and body armour. He was shot dead by a local Border Patrol agent after over a dozen specialist cops had been sent to the scene. There have been 27 school shootings this year.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said Ukraine stood in solidarity with the US.
“Our deepest sympathy is with the victims and their families,” he wrote. “As a nation that goes through the pain of losing innocent young lives, Ukraine shares the pain of our U.S. friends.”
The country’s ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova said that losing children to gun violence in peacetime was a “tragedy beyond understanding.”
“Ukraine knows too well the horror of growing number of lost children. And our prayers are with those who lost their loved ones to the horrible crime in the elementary school of Uvalde, Texas,” Markarova said.
In mid-April, Save the Children said that at least 153 children had been killed in the war in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, and that nearly two thirds of Ukraine’s 7.5 million children had fled their homes – but warned that real figures were likely to be much higher.
Ukraine reported earlier this year that more than 500 education facilities had been damaged in the course of the war so far.
A children’s hospital was attacked in Mykolaiv in early April, killing two adults and injuring seven adults and two children. Both the 15-year-old girl and 9-year-old girl required emergency surgery that left them in a critical condition.
The Lancet’s Child and Adolescent Health Journal wrote in an editorial that the atrocities inflicted on Ukraine breached international law and were “grave violations against children in times of war.”
In 2016, the same journal published an editorial on gun violence in the US, calling it “a huge public health problem” that followed a familiar cycle of “grief, anger, public outcry, advocacy for greater gun control, and attempts at policy change, which ultimately fail due to the powerful gun lobby.”