UN reports on 23,600 civilian casualties in Ukraine since Russian invasion started

UN reports on 23,600 civilian casualties in Ukraine since Russian invasion started

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has now verified 23,600 civilian casualties in Ukraine since February 24, 2022.

The relevant statement was made by UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths at a meeting of the UN Security Council, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

According to Griffiths, the actual toll is likely to be much higher.

Griffiths mentioned Russian missile strikes on a humanitarian storage warehouse in Odesa and a Ukrainian Red Cross mobile hospital in Mykolaiv. As a result, humanitarian supplies and vital medical equipment were destroyed.

In the first quarter of 2023, nearly 3.6 million people received humanitarian assistance in Ukraine through a multi-sectoral response. Around 43 inter-agency convoys have delivered supplies to 278,000 people in front-line areas so far this year, with local partners conducting last-mile delivery and distribution.

“The biggest challenge remains the impediments to reaching all areas in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia currently under the military control of the Russian Federation,” Griffiths noted.

Meanwhile, more than 30 million metric tons of cargo have now been safely exported from Ukrainian ports under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, including just under 600,000 metric tons of wheat transported by the World Food Programme, in direct support of humanitarian operations in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Yemen.

However, over the past month, there has been a significant reduction in volumes of exports moving out of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, due to “increasingly challenging dynamics within the Joint Coordination Centre and a related slowdown in operations.”

Griffiths expects that the efforts to secure the Grain Deal on its extension and the improvements needed for it to operate effectively and predictably will continue over the coming days.

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