UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Civilian casualties in eastern Ukraine hit highest annual record

Iran Press TV

Wed Aug 3, 2016 12:53PM

The United Nations has recorded the highest number of civilian casualties in a year in eastern Ukraine as a result of continued fighting in the region.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein said Wednesday that at least 69 civilians were killed or wounded by shelling, mines and booby traps in eastern Ukraine in June. The figure is double the number a month ago and the highest since August 2015.

In his statement, Zeid blamed both the Ukrainian army and pro-Russia forces for the killing of civilians, saying at least 73 people were killed in July.

"The many casualties we have documented in recent weeks suggest that neither Ukrainian forces nor the armed groups are taking the necessary precautions to protect civilians," Zeid stated.

"Civilians are once again having to flee to improvised bomb shelters in their basements, sometimes overnight, with increasing frequency – the price of the ceasefire violations is too high for the women, men and children in eastern Ukraine," he added.

The UN official said the two sides of the conflict have committed crimes such as looting of civilian homes while schools and hospitals have repeatedly been shelled.

Zeid called on the two sides to disengage and implement a full and sustainable ceasefire, in line with the Minsk agreement. Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine signed the accord in the Belarusian capital in February 2015 in a bid to put an end to the violence in eastern Ukraine. The intensity of fighting has largely gone down since the agreement was reached, though sporadic clashes continue on the frontline. The UN says 9,500 people have been killed since the fighting began in 2014.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list