UN: At least 35 civilians killed, 137 wounded in Kharkiv region since start of Russian offensive

UN: At least 35 civilians killed, 137 wounded in Kharkiv region since start of Russian offensive

Data from the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) indicate that at least 35 civilians were killed and 137 injured in the Kharkiv region after the Russian armed forces launched an offensive on 10 May.

This was stated by the spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Elizabeth Throssell, at a UN briefing in Geneva, Ukrinform reports.

It is noted that among those killed or wounded in the northern part of the region, where the fighting was the most intense, more than half were over 60 years old. According to Trossell, this reflects the disproportionate number of elderly people in border and frontline areas who in many cases were either unable or unwilling to leave their homes, even in the face of a rapidly deteriorating security situation.

In addition, numerous homes and other civilian infrastructure have been destroyed.

Throssell stressed that since 10 May, the HRMMU teams have interviewed 90 displaced civilians and visited several places that have been attacked.

People who had fled areas along the frontline in Kharkiv region said they had to hide for days in cold, dark basements without electricity during intense aerial bombardment, drone and rocket attacks, and artillery shelling.

Read also: Zelensky chairs meeting with officials in Kharkiv region

Some were unable to get to shelters or even get to the basement. People said they had seen their neighbours killed or wounded. Some said that the situation was so bad that they decided to risk walking several kilometres to get to the evacuation site.

Throssell emphasised that local authorities and volunteers have taken serious risks to help vulnerable people get to safety. On 16 May, two medical workers, two ambulance drivers and a local official were injured while trying to evacuate civilians from the village of Buhaivka.

On the morning of 19 May, Russian armed groups attacked a recreation centre in the village of Cherkaska Lozova, near Kharkiv. Less than 20 minutes later, the site was struck again, with police and medical personnel already on site to provide assistance to the injured. HRMMU monitors visited the site and documented at least six civilians killed and dozens injured.

Many of those evacuated from Vovchansk and other areas arrived in Kharkiv, which has also been hit by shelling. On Thursday, rocket attacks were launched on Kharkiv, killing seven civilians and injuring 21 others.

It is noted that the evidence collected by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine highlights the devastating impact on civilians as a result of the recent escalation of hostilities along the frontline in Kharkiv region, during which Russian armed forces seized control of several villages.

Read also: In Kharkiv, all victims of attack on printing house identified by DNA

"We reiterate our call on the Russian Federation to strictly comply with all international laws of warfare and to immediately cease its attacks on Ukraine. In the third year of the Russian Federation's full-scale armed attack on Ukraine, with no end in sight, lives, homes and futures continue to be destroyed. The long-term impact of this war in Ukraine will be felt for generations, as the task of rebuilding devastated communities, already a huge undertaking, grows with each passing day of violence and destruction," said the OHCHR spokesperson.

As Ukrinform reported, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) office in Ukraine, Jarno Habicht, said at a briefing that more than 14,000 people have been displaced in the Kharkiv region in recent days due to the fighting.

Photo: Konstantin Liberov

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