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Primary schoolgirl among hundreds of civilians killed in Ukraine invasion

The number of civilian deaths in Ukraine is growing by the day.

Ukraine’s health ministry said on Sunday that 352 civilians, including 14 children, had been killed since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It also said that 1,684 people, including 116 children, had been wounded.

The first fatality to be named is a fourth-grade student from Kyiv called Polina, who was believed to be around nine or 10 years old and in her final year of primary school.

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Live updates as conflict enters fifth day

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Map of latest Ukraine flashpoints Sunday Feb 27

She and her parents were shot dead by a Russian sabotage and reconnaissance group which opened fire on their family car, the city’s deputy mayor Volodymyr Bondarenko said in a Facebook post.

Polina’s brother is receiving treatment at Okhmatdyt children’s hospital and her sister is in intensive care at a second hospital.

Elsewhere, seven-year-old Alisa Hlans was killed in an attack that hit a kindergarten in the city of Okhtyrka – about an hour’s drive from the northeastern Ukrainian border.

She was among five others killed when Russia launched an attack on the second day of the invasion last Friday.

Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova said she was taken to hospital with serious injuries but sadly lost her life on Saturday.

Ms Venediktova said on social media that doctors were fighting to save the life of a second injured child above a picture with the message “we need peace!”

Ukrainian service members at a check point in the city of Zhytomyr, Ukraine
Image:
Ukrainian service members at a check point in the city of Zhytomyr, Ukraine

Key developments in the Ukraine crisis:

Russia hikes key interest rate to 20% after rouble sinks to record low
Putin orders nuclear deterrent forces to be put on high alert
Zelenskyy: Ukraine and Russia to hold talks at Belarus border
Ukraine claims control of key city Kharkiv after fierce clashes

An unnamed boy was also killed on the second day of the invasion in the small town of Chuhuiv in eastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, after shelling struck an apartment building.

Ten Greek nationals died and six others were injured by Russian bombing near the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Greece said on Saturday.

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted: “Ten innocent civilians of Greek origin (were) killed today by Russian airstrikes close to Mariupol. Stop the bombing now!”

The airstrikes took place on the outskirts of the villages of Sartana and Bugas, and a child was among the injured, according to Greece’s foreign ministry.

The foreign ministry condemned the airstrikes and urged Russia to stop aerial bombings and attacks on civilians immediately.

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Wallace: Russian invasion ‘not on track’

Meanwhile, four Greek ex-pats were killed in Sartana, in addition to two killed there earlier and another four who died in Bugas.

Thousands of Greek expatriates live in Mariupol – with the Athens government claiming around 150,000 people of Greek origin live in Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias stressed the need to protect the Greek expatriate community in Ukraine at a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Russian forces advanced on Ukrainian cities with artillery and cruise missiles over the weekend, but the capital of Kyiv remains under Ukrainian control.

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‘We’ve been terrified’: Kyiv resident

More than 120,000 people have fled across Ukrainian borders, and around four million may be forced from their homes by the conflict, potentially marking the most serious refugee crisis in Europe since the collapse of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

Speaking to Sky News on Monday, the UK’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “not on schedule”, adding Vladimir Putin’s forces “are in some significant areas of disarray”.

He said the Russian invasion launched last week is not having the “strategic impact” that Moscow believed it would.

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