Ukraine: Situation Report, 17 Aug 2022 [EN/UK/RU]



  • The war in Ukraine shows no signs of abating. The Ukrainian Parliament extended martial law for another three months until 21 November.

  • In the past week, fighting was concentrated in Donetska and Kharkivska oblasts. Tensions continue growing over the security situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

  • Meanwhile, the first humanitarian vessel chartered by the World Food Programme left the port of Pivdennyi near Odesa on 16 August for Ethiopia with 23,000 tons of wheat on board.

  • In eastern Zaporizka oblast, humanitarians delivered critical supplies for nearly 6,000 people remaining in the hard-hit town of Orikhiv on 17 August.

  • Across Ukraine, the UN and its humanitarian partners reached nearly 12 million people with some form of humanitarian assistance.

General security and humanitarian situation

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Hiroshima from New York on the evening of Friday, 5 August.

On Saturday, he spoke at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, which aims to console the souls of those lost to the atomic bombing, as well as pray for the realization of lasting world peace. In his remarks, the Secretary-General underscored that nuclear weapons are nonsense and called on countries to work urgently to eliminate the stockpiles that threaten our future.

The Secretary-General said his message to leaders is simple: Stop flirting with disaster. Take the nuclear option off the table --- for good. [See Press Release SG/SM/21401]

After the ceremony, he met with Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, with whom he discussed issues in the region including the situation in the Korean Peninsula and Japan's efforts to tackle climate change, among others. After their meeting, the Prime Minister gave the Secretary-General a special tour of the Peace Museum, and they then signed the museum's guestbook.

Following the tour, the Secretary-General met with a group of survivors of the atomic bomb, known as the *hibakusha, *who shared their experiences with him.

This encounter was followed by a meeting with the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who bestowed upon him a special honorary citizenship. Accepting this honour, the Secretary-General said that it is impossible for people to come to Hiroshima and not to feel the absurdity of the existence of nuclear weapons, and that he accepted this honour on behalf of all those working for a nuclear weapons-free world and in the memory of those tens of thousands of people who were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 77 years ago. [See Press Release SG/SM/21402]

He then held a press encounter in Hiroshima and told reporters that the world is in danger of forgetting the lessons forged in this city 77 years ago. He added that it is unacceptable for states in possession of nuclear weapons to admit the possibility of nuclear war. He stressed that we must use every avenue of dialogue, diplomacy and negotiation to ease tensions and eliminate the nuclear threat.

The Secretary-General also met with the Hiroshima Governor, Hidehiko Yuzaki, and then took part in a dialogue with young activists who are leading initiatives on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. He emphasized the importance of young people speaking up for nuclear disarmament and keeping the memory of the impacts of the bombings alive. This was followed by an interview with the national broadcaster NHK at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) offices. He then met and took pictures with the UNITAR staff members.

That evening, the Secretary-General went back to his hotel where he met with Natsuo Yamaguchi, the Chairperson of Japan's Komeito Party.

The Secretary-General then left Hiroshima for Tokyo, arriving that night. On Sunday, the Secretary-General had a private programme and did not hold any official meetings.

On Monday, the Secretary-General met with Japan's Foreign Minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi. After their meeting, the Secretary-General held a press conference at Japan's National Press Club, where he stressed that at a time when geopolitical tensions are rising and the nuclear threat is back in focus, he had two asks for countries: First, he asked nuclear armed countries to commit to the "no first use" of nuclear weapons and second, to never use or threaten non-nuclear armed countries with the use of nuclear weapons, with full transparency in relation to their arsenals. He said he hoped these asks will be taken seriously because "we are witnessing a radicalization in the geopolitical situation that makes the risk of a nuclear war again, something we cannot completely forget." In addition, he urged Japan to take climate action by cutting emissions, stop funding coal plants abroad and partner with countries to help them transition to renewable energy.

After the press conference he had a private audience with Japan's Emperor Naruhito. This was followed by a meeting with Yukio Takasu, his Adviser on Human Security.

In the afternoon, he flew from Tokyo to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.Fighting remained focused in eastern Ukraine over the last week as civilians continued to endure deteriorating conditions resulting in death and injury. Millions of Ukrainians across the country suffer the direct and indirect impacts of the war. Amid the ongoing hostilities, the Ukrainian Parliament extended martial law on 15 August for another three months until 21 November. Meanwhile, thousands more people are evacuating Donetska oblast, and scores of damaged buildings require repair with winter approaching. Safety concerns are also growing over the military activity around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, while neighbouring town of Nikopol continues to come under fire.

In the eastern Donetska oblast, intense fighting reportedly resulted in at least 120 civilian casualties just over the weekend and further damaged critical civilian infrastructure. In Government-controlled areas of the oblast, the authorities reported that the cities of Bakhmut, Kramatorsk and Sloviansk were particularly impacted, while Donetsk city and Horlivka in non-Government-controlled areas also reportedly suffered shelling. The deadliest attacks were reported on 12 August, when 14 civilian casualties (1 person killed and 13 injured) were recorded in Bakhmut and 14 more (2 killed and 12 injured) in Kramatorsk. The National Police also reported that more than 190 civilian facilities were damaged over the same period, 12-14 August. In areas beyond Government control, there was a reported fire and ammonia release on 10 August at a brewery in Donetsk city, with one person reportedly killed and two injured. Local sources also reported the alleged shelling of a fertilizer plant in Horlivka on 12 August. Separately, Ukraine's Energy Ministry updated that, as of 11 August, some 623,000 users -- private households and businesses -- were without power supplies due to the hostilities, compared with 597,000 users the week before. It said that over half of all users lacking electricity live in Government-controlled areas of Donetska oblast (381,000), followed by the eastern Luhanska (over 128,000), southern Mykolaivska (31,000) and eastern Kharkivska (30,000) oblasts. Further, some 234,000 users were reported to be lacking gas supply.

Shelling and casualties were reported daily in Kharkivska oblast. Five civilians were reportedly injured in Kharkiv city on 15 August, with nine more civilian casualties reported in the oblast over the weekend. The Governor reported intense shelling in Kharkiv and several towns on 16-17 August. Shelling in the Saltivskyi district reportedly resulted in damage to residential buildings and transportation infrastructure; while garages and farm machinery were damaged and destroyed in the Chuhuyivskyi district. The Governor added that a 22-year-old man was reportedly hospitalized in Zolochiv after having been injured in an explosion. He said fighting was ongoing south-east of Kharkiv, around Lebyazhi. Separately, on 16 August, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published the report Ukraine: Unlawful Russian Attacks in Kharkiv, in which it describes "repeated unlawful attacks that killed and wounded civilians and damaged health-care facilities and homes ... carried out in populated areas by indiscriminately using explosive weapons with wide area effects and widely banned cluster munitions in apparent violation of international humanitarian law, or the laws of war." The HRW report also cites the oblast Deputy Prosecutor saying over 1,000 civilians, including 50 children, have been killed in Kharkivska oblast during the war, and almost 2,000 injured.

Tensions continued to mount over the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) -- located in the city of Enerhodar in areas beyond the control of the Government of Ukraine in the south-east Zaporizka oblast -- with the Ukrainian Government and humanitarian partners reporting more fighting in the vicinity and explosions near an administrative office on 11 August. The following day, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi addressed the UN Security Council, describing the situation as "very alarming" -- amid calls to allow the Agency's technical experts to visit the plant. While IAEA experts' preliminary assessment indicated that there is no immediate threat to nuclear safety as a result of the shelling or other military actions, Mr. Grossi warned that "this could change at any moment."Separately, Zaporizka oblast Governor Oleksandr Starukh said that an accident at Zaporizhzhia NPP would make it necessary to evacuate some 400,000 people living in the area, including from neighbouring Dnipropetrovska oblast -- adding that it is very difficult to fully implement civil protection measures with part of Zaporizka oblast beyond Government control. Meanwhile, the situation remains perilous and unpredictable. Even on 12 August, the same day the IAEA Director General addressed the Security Council, a worker at the Zaporizhzhia plant was reportedly killed and two others injured.


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