OSCE SMM: 161 civilians killed in Donbas since 2017

OSCE SMM: 161 civilians killed in Donbas since 2017

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) recorded 161 civilian deaths in Donbas in the period between January 1, 2017 and September 15, 2020.

This is said in the OSCE SMM’s thematic report on civilian casualties in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

“The current report examines the period from 1 January 2017 to 15 September 2020. During this period, the SMM confirmed 946 civilian casualties, of which 161 were fatalities,” reads the report.

Among those 946 civilians killed and wounded were 100 children (73 boys and 27 girls).

According to the report, shelling and fire from small arms and light weapons (SALW) accounted for 625 casualties (77 killed and 548 injured).  More than 85% of these casualties occurred in Donetsk region. Four hotspots that straddle both government-and non-government-controlled areas of the contact line, three in Donetsk and one in Luhansk region, accounted for nearly 75% of civilian casualties due to shelling and SALW-fire.

“Mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and other explosive objects resulted in 312 civilian casualties (81 killed and 231 injured) and caused more fatalities than shelling and SALW-fire combined. Civilians have been killed or injured by these objects in a variety of circumstances, including while working in fields, fishing or walking along riverbanks, in urban areas, and at entry-exit checkpoints (EECP), where civilians cross the con-tact line. Such incidents have occurred even in settlements far away from the contact line,” reads the report.

It is noted that 150 casualties due to mines and other explosive objects were cases where civilians mishandled or attempted to dismantle UXO or ammunition.

Due to a variety of factors, including impediments faced by the Mission in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as due to security restrictions and the denial of information from interlocutors in non-government-controlled areas, there are 41 reports of civilian casualties that occurred between 1 January and 15 September 2020 that the Mission was unable to confirm. The Mission will continue to follow up on these cases and will include them in its reports once the cases have been confirmed

According to the SMM, in the 51 days from 27 July (when the agreement took effect) to 15 September, the SMM observed a notable and sustained decrease in the number of registered ceasefire violations.


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