OHCHR records 45 conflict-related civilian casualties in Ukraine between mid-February and mid-May
Long wait times amid poor conditions at checkpoints result in 25 civilian deaths between January and May
Conflict continues to damage civilian infrastructure along the contact line, including schools, shelters, and water and sanitation facilities
Hostilities continued to endanger civilians near the contact line in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in early 2019. Approximately 2,400 security incidents were reported between January and March, representing a 60 percent increase from the number of incidents recorded during the same period in 2018, according to the UN.
Crossing the contact line—where people often wait hours at checkpoints to travel between government-controlled areas (GCA) and non-government controlled areas (NGCA)—remains a challenge for vulnerable populations. Between January and May, long wait times and poor conditions at checkpoints resulted in the deaths of 25 civilians, the majority of whom succumbed to health complications while waiting to cross, the Protection Cluster4 reports.
Conflict damaged 14 schools in the first five months of 2019, compared to a total of 16 schools damaged by conflict in 2018, according to the Education Cluster. The cluster estimates that conflict in Ukraine has adversely affected approximately 700,000 schoolaged children and teachers at 3,500 schools.
In early 2019, approximately 30 percent of people living near the contact line reported diminished access to safe drinking water, the UN reports. Incidents of shelling and indirect fire continue to damage water infrastructure in close proximity to the contact line, increasing the risk of population displacement as a result of interruptions to water supplies, according to relief actors.
INSECURITY AND POPULATION MOVEMENT
Hostilities continue to adversely affect the 2.7 million people living along the contact line in Donetsk and Luhansk. More than 2,400 security incidents were recorded in the first three months of 2019, compared to approximately 1,500 incidents during the same period in 2018, according to the UN.
Conflict resulted in the deaths of two civilians and injury to 10 civilians in May, according to the UN. In addition, at least 70 buildings, one school, and a sewage station were damaged on both sides of the contact line in May, the Protection Cluster reports. Most recently, shelling near Donetsk’s Marinka Checkpoint—a critical humanitarian corridor between GCA and NGCA—resulted in at least four civilian casualties and damaged nearby houses on June 14, relief actors report.
In total, conflict in Ukraine since 2014 has resulted in 3,330 civilian deaths and more than 7,000 civilian injuries as of May 15. Between mid-February and mid-May 2019, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) documented 45 conflict-related civilian casualties, including 10 deaths and injury to 35 people. While the latest number of civilian casualties represents a more than 180 percent increase from mid-November 2018 to midFebruary 2019—the previous reporting period—the figure is lower than those recorded during the February–May periods from 2015–2018.
Between January and March, monitors recorded a monthly average of 1 million contact line crossings at checkpoints, representing a six percent increase over the number of crossings reported for the same period in 2018, according to the UN. During the reporting period, 25 people died while crossing at checkpoints, 19 of whom died as a result of health complications while waiting to cross, according to the Protection Cluster.
The Government of Ukraine (GoU) began upgrading checkpoint infrastructure, including installing and repairing medical aid stations, sun and rain sheds, and sanitation facilities, in late 2018. However, civilians continue to face challenges—including long waiting periods, long distances to travel on foot, and poor road conditions—when crossing the contact line, according to NGO Right to Protect.