UN Warns of Rising Civilian Casualties in Kharkiv as Russian Attacks Intensify

Geneva, The United Nations has expressed deep concern over the escalating violence in Ukraine, particularly in the Kharkiv region, where Russian armed forces have intensified their offensive in recent days. This renewed aggression has led to significant civilian suffering, including deaths, injuries, and mass displacement.

According to Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, since the latest incursion by Russian forces on May 10, which resulted in the capture of several small settlements near Kharkiv, approximately 6,000 people have fled or been evacuated from the border areas. The city of Kharkiv, just 30 to 40 kilometers from the front lines, has become a refuge for many displaced individuals.

The UN’s human rights monitoring team in Ukraine has verified significant civilian casualties in the region, reporting that at least eight civilians were killed and 35 injured since last Friday. This follows a troubling pattern from April, where at least 129 civilians were killed and 574 injured, mostly due to Russian attacks along the frontlines.

The situation in Kharkiv is described as dire, with constant air raid sirens and frequent explosions. Attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure have exacerbated the crisis, resulting in daily power outages across the city. In the northeastern city of Vovchansk, heavy fighting continues, and significant destruction has been reported, with several hundred civilians believed to still be in the city.

The UN also noted reports of an intercepted missile causing casualties in Belgorod, Russia, and reiterated its call for the Russian Federation to cease its armed attacks and comply with international law by withdrawing to internationally recognized borders. The UN urges all parties to minimize harm to civilians and avoid using explosive weapons in populated areas.

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