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UN rights chief points to catastrophic escalation in Ukraine conflict

February 03, 2015, 15:41 UTC+3 GENEVA

According to the official data, in just three weeks to February 1, at least 224 civilians have been killed and 545 wounded in the country

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© Nikolai Muravyev/TASS

GENEVA, January 20. /TASS/. The number of deaths in the 10-month Ukraine conflict now stands at 5,358 and the number of wounded at 12,235, the United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday.

The toll, based on official data from UN human rights monitors, says that in just three weeks to February 1, at least 224 civilians have been killed and 545 wounded.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a statement from Geneva that all sides should halt an escalation in eastern region aggression and ensure full compliance with the Minsk peace accords reached in September.

"Any further escalation will prove catastrophic for the 5.2 million people living in the midst of conflict in eastern Ukraine," Zeid said, noting that "the protection of civilians by all parties to the conflict must be of the utmost priority".

Zeid expressed concern about mounting hardships faced by civilians in conflict-hit areas, noting shortages of food and water and power cuts in winter conditions.

"The plight of these civilians has been compounded by [Ukraine’s] government decisions that have resulted in further restrictions on freedom of movement and socio-economic isolation," he added.

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