‘It should not happen in the U.S. and it should not happen in Ukraine.’ War-torn Ukraine expresses sympathy for mass shooting victims in Texas

May 25, 2022, 4:38 PM UTC

As Americans mourn the victims of Tuesday’s shocking mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, condolences are flooding in from a country that has become well-accustomed to death and grief over the past three months.

The shooting at Robb Elementary School in Southwest Texas has left 21 people dead, including 19 children. The massacre was immediately condemned by President Joe Biden, and he has since been joined by Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

“I would like to express my condolences to all of the relatives and family members of the children who were killed in the awful shooting in an elementary school in Texas, USA,” Zelensky said on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland via video link. “Absolutely, innocent children are being murdered in an absolutely peaceful time.”

In a tweet the same day, Zelensky said he was “deeply saddened” by the news, adding that “the people of Ukraine share the pain of the relatives and friends of the victims and all Americans.”

The mass shooting in Uvalde is the deadliest school shooting since the 2012 Sandy Hook attack in Connecticut, nearly 10 years ago, and the latest in a string of violent gun assaults to have roiled the country so far this year. Including Uvalde, there have been 212 mass shootings and 27 school shootings so far this year in the U.S., according to the nonprofit organization Public Citizen.

In his condolences to American families grieving from the tragedy, Zelensky noted that many Ukrainian parents are sharing in their mourning as war continues to disrupt livelihoods and separate families.

“I feel it is my personal tragedy when children are killed in Texas, and now in my country, the Russian military is killing our children,” he said.

Zelensky was soon joined by other Ukrainian officials drawing parallels between the pain of losing young lives in the U.S. and Ukraine.

“Losing children to gun violence in peaceful time is a tragedy beyond understanding. Ukraine knows too well the horror of growing number of lost children,” Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., wrote Tuesday evening.

“This should not happen anywhere. It should not happen in the U.S. and it should not happen in Ukraine,” Markarova added when speaking to reporters Tuesday.

“Horrible news from Uvalde, Texas,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba wrote in a tweet addressed to the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday. “As a nation that goes through the pain of losing innocent young lives, Ukraine shares the pain of our U.S. friends. We stand in solidarity with you at this difficult time.”

Ukrainians who have been in wartime conditions for months have also reportedly taken the time to express their condolences and empathize with bereaved Americans.

“I’m in Ukraine, a warzone. Russian attacks are constant, airstrikes hit Ukrainian cities overnight. But the first two Ukrainians I saw when I woke up today asked me about the Texas elementary school shooting where a gunman killed 19 children. ‘Why? How?’” Politico reporter Christopher Miller wrote on Wednesday. 

At least 258 children in Ukraine have been killed during the war, according to the latest UN estimates, although the true death toll is feared to be much higher, with recent reports suggesting that nearly 2,000 children have been reported missing during the war.

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