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UN: Donbass conflict has claimed 9,640 lives

At least 22,431 have been wounded

GENEVA, September 15. /TASS/. The conflict in eastern Ukraine has left 9,640 people dead and 22,431 wounded, according to the latest report of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine released on Thursday that has been obtained by TASS.

As of September 2016, the UN mission recorded 9,640 conflict-related deaths and 22,431 injuries among Ukrainian armed forces, civilians and members of the armed groups since the conflict began in mid-April 2014.

The report covering the period from mid-May to mid-August indicates a 66% increase in the number of conflict-related civilian casualties in the east, compared to the previous reporting period. The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine documented 188 civilian casualties in eastern Ukraine, including 28 dead and 160 injured, during the three months covered by this report.

"While the situation has improved since the ceasefire was restored on 1 September, the situation along the contact line remains deeply unstable, as demonstrated by the incidents which took place last week-end. In fact, there is a real risk that a new outbreak of violence could happen any time," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said.

The report emphasizes that close proximity of government forces and armed groups at the contact line - sometimes the distance between them is just 300-500 meters - has contributed to rising tensions. More than half of all civilian casualties recorded in June and July were caused by shelling along the line of contact. On the other hand, a considerable number of civilians were killed or injured by mines, unexploded ordnance and booby traps. UN experts note that the number of civilians who died as a result of the secondary effects of violence, including lack of water, medicines or healthcare, remains unknown.

The UN placed responsibility for human rights violations on both parties to the conflict and pointed out that civilians living in the conflict zone are deprived of protection, access to basic services and humanitarian aid, and that their freedom of movement is severely hampered. The mission’s employees also found out that about 70% of the alleged human rights abuses and violations they documented between mid-May and mid-August included allegations of torture, ill-treatment and incommunicado detention.