The death toll “thousands more” than expected

Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022

Says Human Rights Official on War in Ukraine; Russia shells Odessa; US promises new weapons for kyiv

Smoke rises following a Russian bombardment at an oil refinery near Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine on the 75th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photo: AFP

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Smoke rises following a Russian bombardment at an oil refinery near Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine on the 75th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photo: AFP

Thousands more civilians have been killed in Ukraine during nearly 11 weeks of war than the official UN death toll of 3,381, the head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission said yesterday for the country.

The United Nations team, which includes 55 observers in Ukraine, said most of the deaths were caused by explosive weapons with a wide impact area such as missiles and airstrikes.

“We’ve been working on estimates, but all I can say right now is that it’s thousands more than the numbers we’ve given you right now,” Matilda Bogner said during an interview. press conference in Geneva, asked about the total number of deaths and injuries.

“The big black hole is really Mariupol where it has been difficult for us to fully access and get fully corroborated information,” she added, referring to the port city in southeastern Ukraine which experienced the heaviest fighting of the war.

Bogner was speaking after a trip to Ukraine last week where she visited areas around kyiv and Chernihiv previously occupied by Russian forces.

Her team has reports of more than 300 unlawful killings in settlements north of kyiv, including Bucha, she said, and expects that number to rise.

They met a 70-year-old man who hid for more than three weeks in a basement so crowded he had to sleep standing up, tying himself to wooden rails to avoid falling.

Bogner also expressed concern that both sides were using schools as military bases.

His team was also investigating what it described as “credible allegations” of torture and executions by Ukrainian forces against invading Russian forces and affiliated armed groups.

Meanwhile, Russian forces shelled the vital port of Odessa, in an apparent effort to disrupt supply lines and arms deliveries. One person was killed and five people were injured when seven missiles hit a shopping center and a depot in the port city.

At the other end of the southern coast, they hammered the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol where Ukrainian fighters are denying Moscow full control of another critical port, Reuters reports.

Air raid sirens could be heard in several parts of Ukraine early yesterday, including Lugansk, Kharkiv and Dnipro. The governor of Luhansk said the region had been attacked 22 times in the past 24 hours.

US President Joe Biden has said he’s worried Putin “doesn’t have a way out right now, and I’m trying to figure out what we’re doing about it.”

Sources say US Democratic lawmakers have agreed to a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, including a massive new weapons package.

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said yesterday that the United States believed Putin was preparing for a long conflict in Ukraine and that a Russian victory in Donbass in the east of the country might not end the war. war.

More than eight million people are estimated to have been internally displaced by Russia’s war in Ukraine, having fled their homes and remaining in the country, according to the United Nations.