As the war in Ukraine enters its sixth month, attacks in the country’s south intensify.
The port of Odesa was affected on 23 July, just a day after the agreement on grain export via Black Sea ports was reached.
The civilian toll of the war also increases as hostilities continue to be reported across Ukraine. Over 12,200 reports of civilians killed or injured have been verified so far.
Amid deteriorating humanitarian and security conditions, the UN and partners delivered 50 tons of life-saving aid for 5,000 people to severely affected Stepnohirsk.
Since 24 February, humanitarians have reached 11.6 million people with protection services, food, water, medication, shelter materials and other life-critical items.
General security and humanitarian situation
The situation in Ukraine remained volatile during the reporting period and extremely dangerous for civilians as the war entered its sixth month. United Nations staff in Odesa witnessed the 23 July missile strike in the city’s port area the day after the Black Sea Grain Initiative was reached between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The agreement is intended to allow the resumption of the export of grain and other agricultural products to global markets from Ukraine. Secretary-General António Guterres [“unequivocally condemned”] https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/07/1123162) the attack, but more have followed in Odeska oblast. Multiple attacks on 26 July reportedly struck locations, including the resort town of Zatoka, damaging a bridge and injuring at least one person. Humanitarian security reports say that attacks have impacted Odeska oblast 20 times so far this month, resulting in the deaths of 21 civilians and injuries to 50 others.
Meanwhile, the port city of Mykolaiv in neighbouring Mykolaivska oblast continued to be shelled daily following multiple attacks last week, including one that destroyed a warehouse serving as a storage facility for humanitarian aid. The Mykolaiv Mayor reported that missile strikes on 23 July damaged buildings including another warehouse, an educational facility residential buildings and houses – and injured five civilians. Humanitarian security reports say Mykolaivska oblast has been impacted by attacks at least 184 times in July, and that, besides damaging and destroying infrastructure, they have killed a total of 22 civilians and injured 86 others.
Fighting on the ground remained focused in the east, especially in Donetska oblast. The city of Sloviansk, located in Government-controlled areas, has become a renewed focus of the hostilities – amid growing concerns about the humanitarian conditions there. The mayor of Sloviansk said that current damage to infrastructure could cause the water supply system to freeze and cease to function as soon as temperatures drop below zero later this year. The mayor also reported that the gas supply system has been damaged and may not be repaired before winter. He repeated calls for residents to evacuate while they still could. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian authorities reported continuing water shortages in Mariupol, which is located in areas outside of Government control, with limited or no access to safe water for many residents.
Also, in eastern Ukraine, there continued to be daily reports of shelling in Kharkiv and Kharkivska oblast, resulting in damage to civilian infrastructure and multiple civilian deaths and injuries. The oblast Governor noted that the shelling sometimes sparks fires that destroy crops, including, in one case, 30 hectares of wheat. And on 26 July, shelling was reported to have damaged a gas pipeline, cutting off the supply to about a thousand homes. UN colleagues, including from OCHA, have been conducting missions to Kharkiv more regularly recently, observing firsthand the extensive damage to the city and oblast.
Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear power operator, pointed to another worrying development on 21 July when it reported that more military equipment, explosives, ammunition and weapons had been stored inside the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant – representing a serious risk to public health and the environment. The plant is located in a part of the south-eastern Zaporizka oblast that has been beyond the control of the Government of Ukraine since early March.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.