UN: Women in Ukraine suffer 'disproportionally'

People on both sides of the war in Ukraine have endured a year of misfortunes they once thought unimaginable. However, women and girls are bearing additional burdens. Ukrainian and Russian leaders have stopped to reflect on their plight on International Women's Day.

United Nations officials say the threat of attacks in Ukraine is "ever present." Nearly 14 million people have fled or become internally displaced. But they say women and girls have suffered " disproportionally." Some have been victims of human trafficking and sexual violence.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said this is a day of struggle for women's rights.

Zelenskyy said, "It is important to express our gratitude today to all the women who work, teach, study, rescue, heal and fight for Ukraine."

Russians look upon International Women's Day as one of their most important public holidays. President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday presented awards to women, including some serving in regions of Ukraine that his government has annexed.

Putin said, "In times of trial and hardship, people always show their best qualities."

Ukrainian women in the eastern region of Donbas endure hardships day after day. They have seen mercenaries with the Wagner group fighting alongside Russian soldiers in the city of Bakhmut. The head of the group now claims that his forces control the eastern part of the city.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that Bakhmut could fall "in the coming days."