During the almost 11 weeks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, thousands of civilians have died more than the official United Nations figure of 3,381 dead, said the head of the UN Human Rights Observation Mission for the country, Matilda Bogner. .
The team, which includes 55 observers in Ukraine, said most of the deaths were caused by explosive weapons with a wide impact area, such as missile and air strikes.
“We have been working on the estimates, but all I can say for now is that they are thousands of times higher than the numbers we have given you today,” Bogner told a briefing in Geneva when asked about the number. total dead and wounded.
“The big black hole is really Mariupol, where it has been difficult for us to access and get fully corroborated information,” he added, referring to the southeastern Ukrainian port city that has seen the heaviest fighting of the war.
Moscow denies targeting civilians and calls its invasion, launched on February 24, a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of what it calls anti-Russian nationalists. Ukraine and the West claim that this is a false pretext for waging an unprovoked war of aggression.
Bogner was speaking after a trip to Ukraine last week, in which he visited areas around kyiv and Chernigov previously occupied by Russian forces. According to him, his team has reports of more than 300 illegal deaths in towns north of kyiv, including Bucha, and expects the number to rise.
His team was also investigating what it described as “credible allegations” of torture, ill-treatment and executions by Ukrainian forces against invading Russian forces and affiliated armed groups.
“As for the scope of the violations by the Ukrainian forces, although the scale is significantly higher on the side of the allegations against the Russian forces, we are also documenting violations by the Ukrainian forces,” he noted.