Ten days into Russia’s war on Ukraine, United Nations monitors announced Saturday that at least 351 Ukrainian civilians have been killed and another 707 injured — though the actual figures for both are likely much higher.
The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said it believes that “the real figures are considerably higher, especially in government-controlled territory and especially in recent days, as the receipt of information from some locations where intensive hostilities have been going on was delayed and many reports were still pending corroboration.”
“This concerns, for example, the town of Volnovakha where hundreds of civilian casualties have been alleged,” the office said. “These figures are being further corroborated and are not included.”
Between 04:00 on 24 February 2022, when the Russian Federation’s military action against # Ukraine started, and 24:00 on 4 March 2022, our Ukraine Office @UNHumanRightsUA recorded 1,058 civilian casualties in Ukraine: 351 killed & 707 injured. Learn more: https://t.co/Jvv39YKWBS pic.twitter.com/dKnAemcaJ0
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) March 5, 2022
The Associated Press noted that “Ukraine’s State Emergency Service has said more than 2,000 civilians have died, though it’s impossible to verify the claim.”
OHCHR added that most confirmed civilian casualties since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the invasion on February 24 “were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes.”
The International Criminal Court earlier this week launched an investigation into claims that Russian forces have committed war crimes, including by using cluster bombs and targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure.
The U.N. casualty figures came as Ukrainian officials accused Russian forces of violating a cease-fire for evacuation routes out of the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha.
⚡️About 400 civilians evacuated from Volnovakha despite thwarted evacuation.
The number was announced by Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. The evacuation from Volnovakha was supposed to be held today, but Russian forces violated the temporary ceasefire agreement.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 5, 2022
As the AP reports:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office later said the Russians were not holding to the cease-fire and continued firing on Mariupol and surrounding areas. Russia breached the deal in Volnovakha as well, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told reporters.
Russian outlet RIA Novosti carried a Russian Defense Ministry claim that the firing came from inside both communities against Russian positions.
Shelling began in Mariupol as thousands of people gathered to leave the city and buses were departing, said Mayor Vadym Boychenko, adding that “we value the life of every inhabitant of Mariupol and we cannot risk it, so we stopped the evacuation.”
The Mariupol City Council similarly said on social media that “due to the fact that the Russian side does not adhere to the cease-fire and has continued shelling both of Mariupol itself and its environs and for security reasons, the evacuation of the civilian population has been postponed.”
Agonizing scenes of civilians trying to evacuate this a.m. "These people have been under bombardment for seven straight days and are only just leaving their homes," @clarissaward notes, "and they're leaving them with the knowledge that they might not be able to go back to them." pic.twitter.com/5Ur4CS60pl
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) March 5, 2022
More than 1.3 million Ukrainians have fled the country since the Russian invasion, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency.
Anti-war protests are planned around the world for Saturday and Sunday.
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