The United Nations (UN) believes that the number of civilian deaths in the war in Ukraine is likely much higher than the nearly 8,500 casualties that have been officially reported, citing delayed reports from areas where fighting has intensified.
The UN has recorded 8,490 civilian deaths since the war in Ukraine began in February 2022, according to updated numbers released by the body this week.
The deaths have been joined by over 14,200 injuries. But the organization said the totals are most likely “considerably higher.”
“[The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights] believes that the actual figures are considerably higher, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed and many reports are still pending corroboration,” the UN said.
The organization pointed to cities like Mariupol, Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk as places where there have been allegations of civilian casualties that have not been able to be confirmed.
The updated estimates of civilian deaths in the war comes as the UN has also detailed alleged Russian abuses of Ukrainian civilians in recent months. A report from the organization last month concluded that both Russia and Ukraine had likely committed war crimes, but also described Russian targeting of civilians.
The independent committee that submitted the report to the UN last month found that Russia had committed indiscriminate attacks and bombings on civilians, striking military and civilian targets without distinction.
“The circumstance of the attacks launched or likely launched by Russian armed forces that the Commission investigated has led it to determine that a majority of them were indiscriminate,” the report said. “In several attacks, the Commission found that Russian armed forces failed to take feasible precautions to verify whether civilians were present.”
The update on civilian deaths also comes as the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of war crimes in Russia’s deportation of Ukrainian children from the country.
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