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News Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Ukraine: civilian casualty update 21 March 2022

21 March 2022

Date: 21 March 2022

From 4 a.m. on 24 February 2022, when the Russian Federation’s armed attack against Ukraine started, to 24:00 midnight on 20 March 2022 (local time), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 2,421 civilian casualties in the country: 925 killed and 1,496 injured. This included:

  • a total of 925 killed (183 men, 137 women, 11 girls, and 25 boys, as well as 39 children and 530 adults whose sex is yet unknown)
  • a total of 1,496 injured (163 men, 124 women, 22 girls, and 17 boys, as well as 60 children and 1,110 adults whose sex is yet unknown)
    • In Donetsk and Luhansk regions: 1,017 casualties (256 killed and 761 injured)
      • On Government-controlled territory: 772 casualties (201 killed and 571 injured)
      • On territory controlled by the self-proclaimed ‘republics’: 245 casualties (55 killed and 190 injured)
    • In other regions of Ukraine (the city of Kyiv, and Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Kyiv, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk and Zhytomyr regions), which were under Government control when casualties occurred: 1,404 casualties (669 killed and 735 injured)

Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes.

OHCHR believes that the actual figures are considerably higher, especially in Government-controlled territory and especially in recent days, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed and many reports are still pending corroboration. This concerns, for example, Mariupol and Volnovakha (Donetsk region), Izium (Kharkiv region), Sievierodonetsk and Rubizhne (Luhansk region), and Trostianets (Sumy region), where there are allegations of numerous civilian casualties. These figures are being further corroborated and are not included in the above statistics.

OHCHR notes the report of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine, according to which as of 8 a.m. (local time) 21 March, 115 children had been killed and more than 148 injured. OHCHR also notes the report of the Head of the Investigative Department of the National Police of Kharkiv Region, according to which as of 6 p.m. (local time) 20 March, 276 civilians had been killed in the region, including 15 children.
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An increase in figures in this update compared with the previous update (as of 24:00 midnight on 19 March 2022 local time) should not be attributed to civilian casualties that occurred on 20 March only, as during the day OHCHR also corroborated casualties that occurred on previous days. Similarly, not all civilian casualties that were reported on 20 March have been included into the above figures. Some of them are still pending corroboration and if confirmed, will be reported on in future updates.
The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine

Since 2014, OHCHR has been documenting civilian casualties in Ukraine. Reports are based on information that the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) collected through interviews with victims and their relatives; witnesses; analysis of corroborating material confidentially shared with HRMMU; official records; open-source documents, photo and video materials; forensic records and reports; criminal investigation materials; court documents; reports by international and national non-governmental organisations; public reports by law enforcement and military actors; data from medical facilities and local authorities. All sources and information are assessed for their relevance and credibility and cross-checked against other information. In some instances, corroboration may take time. This may mean that conclusions on civilian casualties may be revised as more information becomes available andnumbers may change as new information emerges over time.

Since 24 February 2022, in the context of the Russian Federation’s military action in Ukraine, HRMMU has been unable to visit places of incidents and interview victims and witnesses there. All other sources of information have been extensively used, including HRMMU contact persons and partners in places where civilian casualties occurred. Statistics presented in the current update are based on individual civilian casualty records where the “reasonable grounds to believe” standard of proof was met, namely where, based on a body of verified information, an ordinarily prudent observer would have reasonable grounds to believe that the casualty took place as described.

ENDS

Ukrainian and Russian language versions of this update as they become available, please visit this page.

For more information and media requests, please contact:
Liz Throssell + 41 22 917 9296 / [email protected] or
Lori Brumat +41 22 928 91 49 / [email protected]
Ravina Shamdasani + 41 22 917 9169 / [email protected]

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