Ukraine: UN report reveals ‘horrific toll’ of Russian attacks

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Ukraine: UN report reveals ‘horrific toll’ of Russian attacks

Released on Wednesday by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU), the report explained the hardships civilians faced, including physical and long-term socioeconomic harm.

It also emphasised the human rights impact of Russia’s renewed large-scale attacks on critical energy infrastructure in March, the ground offensive in the Kharkiv region in May and other developments in occupied and Government-controlled areas of Ukraine.

Relentless attacks

“With May having the highest monthly number of civilian casualties in nearly a year, fighting this spring took a horrific toll on civilians, particularly in Kharkiv region and city,” said Danielle Bell, head of the HRMMU.

The relentless attacks resulted in tragic loss of life, displacement, and destruction of homes and businesses,” she added.

According to the report, between 1 March and 31 May, at least 436 civilians were killed and a further 1,760 injured as a result of conflict-related violence. Casualties included six media workers, 26 employees of healthcare institutions, five humanitarian workers, and 28 emergency service workers.

It added that the majority (91 per cent) of the casualties occurred in territory controlled by Ukraine, and nine per cent in Russian-occupied territory.

In the reporting period, Russian authorities reported that 91 civilians were killed and 455 injured in the Russia from attacks launched by Ukrainian armed forces, primarily in Belgorod, Briansk, and Kursk regions.

Powerful weapons

UN monitors identified the use of powerful air-dropped bombs and missiles in populated areas and at least five instances of successive attacks on the same location, just as first responders arrived on the scene, causing casualties.

The spring escalation in hostilities also saw Russian armed forces launch their “largest campaign of attacks” against critical energy infrastructure since the winter of 2022-23, killing and injuring civilians, while also affecting millions of people across the country with power cuts, the report said.

Rippling effects

The attacks also had rippling consequences on water supplies, mobile and internet access, and public transportation, Ms. Bell noted.

“The full impact of the attacks on energy infrastructure will only be clear this upcoming winter when the reduced power-generating capacity of Ukraine could leave many without access to heating and other services necessary for their survival,” she said.

Among other findings, the report noted that the Russian armed forces pressured civilians in occupied territory to get Russian citizenship to receive medical services and keep their property rights.

The report will be presented to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council on 9 July.

UN Assembly President visits Ukraine

On Wednesday, the President of the UN General Assembly completed a two-day official visit to Kyiv, where he met with several official leaders including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

In his discussions Assembly President Dennis Francis stressed that the Russian aggression against Ukraine violated the UN Charter.

He reiterated the General Assembly’s commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.

Mr. Francis also noted that the Organization has worked closely with the Government, local authorities and international partners to rebuild Ukraine from the destruction.

I would like to think the darkest of the night is behind Ukraine, not ahead of it,” he said, expressing hope that the recent Summit for Peace in Ukraine would bring further progress in the near future.

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