Ukraine: intensification of hostilities aggravates the already difficult humanitarian situation, warns the UN

Украина: активизация боевых действий усугубляет и без того сложную гуманитарную ситуацию, предупреждают в ООН

Destruction in Ukraine. Photo from the archive Ukraine: intensification of hostilities aggravates the already difficult humanitarian situation, warns the UN Peace and security

Last week’s Berlin Reconstruction Conference demonstrated international support for Ukraine. However, the discussions took place against the backdrop of a sharp escalation of hostilities and a growing number of civilian casualties, UN Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo said at a Security Council meeting on Tuesday.

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), at least 174 civilians were killed and 690 injured in Ukraine in May of this year. This is the highest number of civilian casualties in a single month since June last year, DiCarlo noted.

Increasing Hostilities 

According to her, the Kharkov region suffered the most from the intensification of hostilities, however, civilians continue to die and be injured in other parts of Ukraine. In particular, at least nine people were killed last week as a result of shelling in Krivoy Rog, including five children. Regular shelling and missile attacks by Russian forces in the Kherson region are also reported.

The Deputy Head of the UN informed Security Council members that since February In 2022, OHCHR recorded 11126 civilians killed and 21,863 wounded, with actual figures likely to be significantly higher. During the same period, Russian authorities reported at least 91 deaths and 455 injuries in Russia, primarily in border areas, DiCarlo added.

DiCarlo stressed that attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure are prohibited by international law and must stop immediately.

International support

The intensification of hostilities is aggravating the already difficult humanitarian situation, the deputy head of the UN warned. “This year, together with our partners, we have provided humanitarian assistance to more than 4.4 million people,” she added. However, according to DiCarlo, the 2024 Humanitarian Response Plan is currently only 27 percent funded.

In addition, for the estimated 1.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions of Ukraine under Russian occupation, lack of access remains a key problem, she noted. “International humanitarian law requires facilitating the prompt and unimpeded distribution of humanitarian assistance to all civilians in need, regardless of where they live. We call on the Russian Federation to ensure humanitarian access to areas under its control,” the speaker said.

Human rights

“The human rights situation in the regions of Ukraine under Russian occupation remains extremely alarming,” DiCarlo said. According to OHCHR, local residents are being pressured to obtain Russian passports, which is prohibited by international law. In addition, according to OHCHR, hundreds of released Ukrainian prisoners of war reported systematic and widespread torture and ill-treatment, including sexual violence.

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Ukraine: the cost of the fight against gender-based violence on the front lines

“Two and a half years after the Russian Federation’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the killing and destruction continue unabated. At the same time, discussions about possible ways to achieve peace are increasing,”  – DiCarlo said. According to her, the United Nations welcomes and is ready to support all significant efforts and initiatives aimed at achieving this goal.


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