Geneva – The United Nations Human Rights Office said on Tuesday that no fewer than 8,000 civilians, Ukrainian soldiers and pro-Russian separatists have been killed in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine since April 2014.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that the figures of at least 7,962 people killed and 17,811 wounded were conservative estimates, as the actual numbers could be far higher.
“The shelling of residential areas on both sides of the contact line has led to a disturbing increase in the number of civilian casualties over the past three months,” Al Hussein said.
“With almost daily clashes between government forces and Moscow backed rebels, at least 105 civilians have been killed between mid-May and mid-August, compared to 60 in May, June and July,’’ he said.
The Commissioner said that Ukraine’s security service was involved in persistent pattern of incommunicado detentions that often included torture.
The contact group constituted to resolve the crisis met on Tuesday in Minsk and was expected to discuss proposed withdrawal of small arms from the front lines.
The group would also deliberate on legislation to lessen federal control over regional governments.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Ukrainian government, pro-Russian separatists, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which had been independently monitoring the conflict for the past year and a half. (dpa/NAN)