UN Releases New Civilian Death Numbers for Ukraine – On Tuesday, the United Nations released its latest estimate for the number of civilian deaths during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The UN said that over 3,000 Ukrainian civilians have died since fighting began on February 24, but warned that the true number is likely to be “considerably higher.”
In a statement, the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) revealed that 3,193 civilians have died because of the fighting, and an additional 3,353 injuries have also been reported.
“OHCHR believes that the actual figures are considerably higher, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed and many reports are still pending corroboration,” the statement reads.
Specifically, the UN said that it believes considerably more civilian deaths have taken place in Mariupol, part of the Donetsk region, Izium, which is in the Kharkiv region, and Popasna, which is in the Luhansk region.
Russian forces have escalated the conflict in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in recent weeks, reallocating troops and ammunition in the area as part of an effort to assist separatists seeking independence from Ukraine.
War Crime Investigations Continue
Ukrainian authorities continue their investigations into war crimes allegedly committed by Russian forces since February, with prosecutors filing their first war crime charges in late April.
Prosecutors charged 10 Russian service members with torturing and taking hostage Ukrainian civilians in the suburbs surrounding Kyiv. The charges were filed in absentia to the Ukrainian courts and the Russian troops are not in custody.
The decision to move ahead with filing charges even as Russian soldiers believed to have committed the crimes are not in custody signals Ukraine’s commitment to holding the Kremlin accountable for a multitude of alleged war crimes. Moscow insists that Russian troops have never targeted civilians in Ukraine, and Kremlin spokespeople have repeatedly accused Ukrainian soldiers of attacking civilians themselves and conducting “false flag” operations that paint Russian soldiers in a bad light.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.