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UN records over 10,000 civilian deaths in Ukraine since February 2022

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 21, 2023 4:22 PM 1 min read
A gravedigger works at the cemetery in the village of Hroza, Kharkiv Oblast on Oct. 6. A Russian strike on a cafe in the village on Oct. 5 killed 59 people. (Alexander Khrebet)
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At least 10,000 civilians have been killed and over 18,500 have been injured since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) said on Nov. 21.

The figure of 10,000, which includes over 560 children, consists of civilian deaths verified according to UN methodology.

The HRMMU noted that the actual number of those killed and injured is likely to be significantly higher.

Between August and October, nearly half of civilian casualties were recorded "far away from the front lines," the monitoring mission's head Danielle Bell said.

"No place in Ukraine is completely safe."

The same period saw 86% of civilian casualties being recorded in territories of Ukraine under Kyiv's control.  

"The vast majority were caused by explosive weapons with wide area effect," such as artillery shells, missiles, and cluster munitions, according to the HRMMU.

There is also a disproportionate representation of older people among the casualty figures, as they are often unable to relocate to safer areas.

"The Russian Federation's war against Ukraine, now entering into its 21st month, risks evolving into a protracted conflict, with the severe human cost being painful to fathom," Bell said.

UN Human Rights chief Volker Turk said on March 31 that the number of civilian casualties resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine far outstrips official figures.

"These figures are just the tip of the iceberg," Turk said during a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

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