UN records sharp rise in civilian deaths, injuries in Ukraine in March

By Thomson Reuters Apr 9, 2024 | 10:49 AM

GENEVA (Reuters) – United Nations monitors have recorded a sharp increase in civilian casualties in Ukraine last month as Russian forces have stepped up attacks, the U.N. Human Rights Office said on Tuesday.

The toll included at least 57 children killed or injured in March, double the number from February, it said.

The U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission had verified at least 604 civilians killed or injured in Ukraine in March, a 20% increase from February.

“The March increase in civilian casualties was mainly due to attacks by the Russian armed forces using missiles and loitering munitions across Ukraine and increased aerial bombardments near the frontline,” the Rights Office said.

The mission found that most civilian casualties – 93.5% – as well as most damage to educational and health facilities and to critical infrastructure occurred in government-controlled areas.

Ukraine sustained particularly heavy attacks last month, and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the country could run out of air defence missiles if Russia keeps up its intense long-range bombing campaign.

He said last week that Russia fired over 3,000 guided aerial bombs, 600 drones and 400 missiles at Ukraine in March alone.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Rachel More and Angus MacSwan)