Tragedy ensues as Russia and Ukraine continue fighting. After two weeks of fighting, the United Nations has released an official count for the Ukraine civilian death toll which lists 549 people killed, 41 of which have been children.
Keeping count of Ukrainian casualties has proven difficult for the U.N. and its partners as refugees have fled across Europe. Since Russia launched its invasion of the European nation, the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stated, “Most of the civilian casualties were caused by the use of explosive weapons with wide impact area.”
At a Glance:
- The official civilian death toll of 549 is reportedly “considerably higher” pending counts in hostile areas.
- Russia’s bombing of a children hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine has drawn international condemnation.
- Casualty reports come from UN “contact persons and partners” with accounts of civilian deaths.
U.N. Releases Current Ukraine Death Toll
CNBC states these include heavy artillery and multi-rocket launch systems, in addition to repetitive missile and airstrikes. On Thursday, the international organization released an official Ukrainian death toll. Reports positively account for 549 individuals. Children account for 41 of those deaths.
That said, numbers are bound to increase drastically as reports emerge from “government-controlled territory” and in areas of “intense hostilities.”
In speaking to the current Ukrainian death toll, the OHCHR stated particularly uncertain areas include Volnovakha, Mariupol, and Izium. The office shared these areas report “allegations of hundreds of civilian casualties.”
Until an updated Ukrainian death toll sees confirmation, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights reported that 61 children died so far, with 100 more injured. Unconfirmed reports continue to come in from the U.N.’s “contact persons and partners.”
Children Burried After Russian Hospital Bombing
According to World Health Organization reports, Russia has targeted Ukrainian medical facilities 18 times since initiating the invasion last month. However, the invading nation has drawn international condemnation after bombing a Mariupol children’s hospital.
Outcry regarding the bombing and the growing death toll intensified as the strike came Wednesday, during a cease-fire agreement meant to allow Ukrainian citizens out of the city.
Reuters reports the hospital bombing injured women in labor, killed several children, and left many buried in rubble.
United States White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki deemed the Russian military “barbaric” in response to the attack. She stated, “It is horrifying to see the type of the barbaric use of the military to go after innocent civilians in a sovereign nation.”
As the Russian invasion ensues, international bodies have begun investigating some of the nation’s high-ranking political figures regarding war crimes. These began as attacks on civilian structures. However, fleeing refugees have shared reports of the Russian military specifically targeting fleeing civilians.
Meanwhile, the U.N. continues to monitor search and recovery missions at the Mariupol children’s hospital in order to verify the all-too-rapidly growing Ukrainian death toll.