Maryna Popatenko, deputy minister for youth and sports, cited the figure in a speech to Poland’s Council for Dialogue with the Young Generation on Monday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
40 percent of Ukraine’s youth had to escape their homes
Addressing the council by video link, Popatenko said that 10.5 million young people lived in Ukraine before Russia invaded the country on February 24.
As a result of the war, 2.5 million young Ukrainians have been internally displaced and a further 2.5 million have had to flee abroad, she added.
Popatenko went on to say: “And so around 40 percent of young people have been driven from their own homes, resettled or forced to flee. Sadly, for most of them, there is no way back because their homes have been utterly destroyed or are situated in Russian-occupied territory.”
Popatenko told the meeting that in recent years, Ukraine had transformed its policies for the young generation, creating a network of youth centres around the country, among other measures.
“Unfortunately, our priority in recent years has been to create such centres in the Donetsk Oblast,” she added, referring to the part of the eastern Donbas region which has been the focus of a Russian offensive.
Popatenko said that nine youth centres were still operating, 21 have been damaged during the war, and 60 were now in Russian-occupied territory.
She added that since the Russian invasion, the centres have been mainly providing humanitarian aid.
‘We believe in a victory for Ukraine’
“We believe in a victory for Ukraine and we’re bringing it closer through everyday work, including through the activity of the youth centres,” Popatenko said. “They demonstrate that our youth is able to think critically, to protect European, democratic values.”
Poland’s Council for Dialogue with the Young Generation brings together representatives of the president, central government and local authorities, as well as non-profits and local and regional youth councils.
It assesses legislation and policies affecting the young generation and helps increase the civic participation of Polish youth, according to officials.
Tuesday is day 132 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Source: PAP, wnp.pl