• At least 38 children were killed in war-torn Ukraine, according to official records
  • Olena Zelenska urged the NATO countries to declare a no-fly zone over the country
  • NATO rejected the plea in order to "prevent this war from escalating beyond Ukraine"

Ukraine's First Lady made an emotional appeal to the international media Sunday to report the "terrible truth" of how Russian invaders are killing innocent children in her country.

"I have to tell you about it. At least 38 children have already died in Ukraine. And this figure might be increasing this very moment due to the shelling of our peaceful cities!" Olena Zelenska said in an Instagram post, Sunday.

The mother of two said she wanted unbiased media around the world to report how Russian troops are "consciously and cynically" murdering children.

"Tell this terrible truth: Russian invaders are killing Ukrainian children. Tell it to Russian mothers - let them know what exactly their sons are doing here, in Ukraine," Zelenska said in the social media post featuring stories and photos of five young children aged 18 months to 14 years, who were killed in the war.

The 44-year-old appealed to the media to share these heartbreaking pictures with the Russians who claim their troops are not hurting Ukraine's civilian population.

"Show them these pictures! Show them the faces of these children who weren't even given a chance to grow up. How many more children must die to convince Russian troops to stop firing and allow humanitarian corridors?" Zelenska asked.

The youngest child featured in the Instagram post, Kirill Yatsko, was wounded by a shelling in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol. "The doctors could do nothing," Zelenska said as she shared the Associated Press picture showing the frantic parents carrying the toddler into a hospital, New York Post reported.

In the social media post, Zelenska also begged the NATO countries to declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which the member countries have not currently agreed on.

"To NATO countries: close the sky over Ukraine! Save our children, because tomorrow it will save yours!" Zelenska pleaded.

However, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday that the NATO allies rejected Ukraine's demand for a no-fly zone fearing it would escalate the war beyond Ukraine.

"We have a responsibility as NATO allies to prevent this war from escalating beyond Ukraine because that would be even more dangerous, more devastating, and would cause even more human suffering," Stoltenberg said.

Refugees from Ukraine wait to enter a camp in the Moldovan capital Chisinau on Thursday
Refugees from Ukraine wait to enter a camp in the Moldovan capital Chisinau on Thursday AFP / Nikolay DOYCHINOV