Civilian Casualties Mount in Ukraine Amid Intensifying Missile and Drone Attacks
07 February 2024
Kyiv, 7 February 2024 – The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) today expressed alarm over intensifying missile and drone attacks and mounting civilian casualties across Ukraine.
Earlier today, Russian armed forces launched dozens of missiles and drones against targets across Ukraine, including in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv. The weapons or falling debris from their interception caused deaths, injuries and damage to civilian property and infrastructure. According to local officials, at least five civilians were killed and dozens were injured. Multiple homes were damaged or destroyed.
“Families and children injured and killed is the predictable and tragic result of using powerful explosive weapons against targets in large cities,” the head of HRMMU, Danielle Bell, said.
In Kyiv’s Holosiivskyi District weapon remnants struck an 18-story apartment building, causing a fire that gutted apartments on several floors and killed at least four civilians. Local residents interviewed by HRMMU said powerful explosions shook the neighborhood in the middle of the morning rush hour. One local resident who works in a kindergarten nearby said: “We knew there were rockets coming this way. We took shelter in the basement and hoped that they would not come here. But look at what happened!” He said that he was still searching for a friend living on the first floor of the damaged building.
In Mykolaiv, a suspected missile struck an area with individual private houses, killing one local resident and causing significant damage to dozens of private houses.
In its monthly update on the protection of civilians, released today, released today, HRMMU reported the continued increase in civilian casualties attributed to widespread missile and drone attacks in urban areas across Ukraine.
In January 2024, HRMMU documented 641 casualties (158 killed and 483 injured), marking a 37% increase since November of 2023 after which the previously observed downward trend throughout 2023 was reversed. Concurrently, child casualties more than doubled during the same period, with 40 children killed or injured in January compared to 18 in November.
The proportion of children killed or injured tends to be higher in attacks occurring far from the frontline, as many families have evacuated from frontline communities. Almost two years into Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine, more than 10,000 civilians have been killed and nearly 20,000 injured.