UN estimates number of civilian casualties in Ukraine
A total of 249 civilians have been killed and 553 were wounded in the first week of hostilities in Ukraine, the UN Human Rights office said on Thursday. Most of the civilian casualties were caused by missiles, airstrikes, shelling and other explosive impacts, the UN said.
The figures cover the time period between 4 am local time on February 24, when Russia sent troops into Ukraine, and the end of the day Wednesday, March 2.
On Wednesday, the Russian military disclosed for the first time its own losses and those of the Ukrainian side. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, 498 Russian servicemen have been killed and nearly 1,600 wounded. They said the Ukrainian military and far-right paramilitaries have lost at least 2,870 soldiers, while another 3,700 have been wounded. Some 572 Ukrainian servicemen have been taken prisoner, Moscow added.
Another million people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries in the week of fighting, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi said on Thursday – about 2% of the country’s total population.
“For many millions more, inside Ukraine, it’s time for guns to fall silent, so that life-saving humanitarian assistance can be provided,” Grandi said on Twitter.
Russian and Ukrainian representatives met in Belarus on Thursday to discuss a possible humanitarian ceasefire. Kiev has also requested a UN peacekeeping mission in Ukraine.
Moscow ordered its troops into Ukraine last week, claiming the invasion was aimed at “demilitarizing” and “denazifying” the government in Kiev and stopping what it called the “genocide” in the two breakaway regions of Donbass. Ukraine has accused Russia of an unjustified and unprovoked offensive. The US and its NATO allies have followed suit.