The United Nations Human Rights Office has reported a grim milestone in Ukraine, with over 10,000 civilian deaths since the Russian invasion began in February 2022. This figure, however, is believed to be an underestimation, as the UN Human Rights Mission in Ukraine, equipped with numerous observers, continues to verify and confirm the facts. The mission, led by Danielle Bell, has highlighted the severity of the situation, emphasizing that the real death toll is likely “significantly higher” than the current official figures.
The conflict, now in its 21st month, has been marked by the extensive use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects, such as shells, rockets, and cluster munitions, which have been the primary cause of these civilian deaths. Danielle Bell, head of the UN monitoring mission, has expressed deep concern over the escalation of the conflict into a protracted one, with the heavy loss of life being incalculable.
A disturbing trend noted by the UN is that almost half of the Ukrainian civilian deaths in the past three months have occurred far from the front lines. This has been attributed to the use of long-range missiles by Russian troops. Additionally, the data reveals that older individuals, particularly those unable or unwilling to relocate to safer areas, have disproportionately suffered in this conflict. More than a third of the victims, whose ages were confirmed, were over 60 years old, a significant figure considering this age group constitutes only a quarter of Ukraine’s total population.
The situation in Ukraine continues to draw international attention and concern, with the UN’s reports underscoring the severe impact of the conflict on civilians and the urgent need for addressing human rights violations in the region.