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After Texas school shooting, Ukraine's leaders share pain in loss of young lives

“As a nation that goes through the pain of losing innocent young lives, Ukraine shares the pain of our U.S. friends," said Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
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As the devastation brought to their own country continued to mount Wednesday, Ukrainian officials saw parallels in the pain of young lives lost after the latest mass shooting to hit the U.S.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered his condolences to those affected by the massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas — and appeared to allude to the growing loss of life inflicted by Russia's invasion.

In an address by video link at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Zelenskyy empathized with the sudden loss of young lives during what should be a "peaceful time."

“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," Zelenskyy said. "As of this time, as far as I know, 21 people were killed, including 19 children."

"Absolutely innocent children are being murdered in an absolutely peaceful time," Zelenskyy said.

At least 3,942 people, including at least 258 children, were killed in the first three months of Russia's war in Ukraine, according to the U.N. Human Rights Office. The true toll is almost certainly much higher.

Zelenskyy said on Twitter that he was "deeply saddened" by the shooting and expressed his condolences to the families of the victims, the people of the U.S. and President Joe Biden.

"The people of Ukraine share the pain of the relatives and friends of the victims and all Americans," he said.

Among the victims fatally shot at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, west of San Antonio, were 19 children, including at least three fourth graders. Two teachers who were trying to protect their students from the gunfire were also killed, relatives told news outlets.

Zelenskyy was not the only Ukrainian official to turn his attention to news across the Atlantic and find a common sorrow.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted his condolences following the "horrible news from Uvalde, Texas."

“Our deepest sympathy is with the victims and their families," he said as he also reflected on Ukraine's mounting death toll. “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,” he said, tweeting at Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

In a Telegram post, Andriy Yermak, the head of Zelenskyy’s office, also alluded to the war in Ukraine, writing: “Unfortunately, Ukraine is losing the innocent lives of children and young people because of the war. And we know how painful it is.”

Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, said on Twitter that 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," she said. "And our prayers are with those who lost their loved ones to the horrible crime in the elementary school of Uvalde, Texas."