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News Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Ukraine: civilian casualty update 22 May 2023

22 May 2023

Date: 22 May 20231

From 24 February 2022, which marked the start of the large-scale armed attack by the Russian Federation, to 21 May 2023, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 24,012 civilian casualties in the country: 8,895 killed and 15,117 injured. This included:

  • 19,324 casualties (6,910 killed and 12,414 injured) in territory controlled by the Government when casualties occurred:
    • In Donetsk and Luhansk regions: 9,766 casualties (4,051 killed and 5,715 injured); and
    • In other regions2: 9,558 casualties (2,859 killed and 6,699 injured).
  • 4,688 casualties (1,985 killed and 2,703 injured) in territory occupied by the Russian Federation when casualties occurred:
    • In Donetsk and Luhansk regions: 3,154 casualties (705 killed and 2,449 injured); and
    • In other regions3: 1,486 casualties (1,242 killed and 244 injured).

OHCHR believes that the actual figures are considerably higher, 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 (Donetsk region), Lysychansk, Popasna, and Sievierodonetsk (Luhansk region), where there are allegations of numerous civilian casualties.

Civilian casualties from 1 to 21 May 2023 (individual cases verified by OHCHR) 

From 1 to 21 May 2023, OHCHR recorded 599 civilian casualties in Ukraine:

  • 133 killed (76 men, 38 women, 4 boys, 1 girl, as well as 14 adults whose sex is not yet known); and
  • 466 injured (182 men, 116 women, 15 boys, 7 girls, as well as 146 adults whose sex is not yet known).

This included:

  • 111 killed and 384 injured in 128 settlements in territory controlled by the Government when casualties occurred (83 percent of the total); and
  • 22 killed and 82 injured in 15 settlements in territory occupied by the Russian Federation when casualties occurred (17 percent of the total).

Per type of weapon/incident:

  • Explosive weapons with wide area effects: 122 killed and 431 injured (92 per cent);
  • Mines and explosive remnants of war: 11 killed and 35 injured (8 per cent).

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 and numbers may change as new information emerges over time. 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.


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

1] An increase in figures in this update compared with the previous update (as of 14 May 2023) should not be attributed to civilian casualties that occurred from 15 to 21 May only, as during these days OHCHR also corroborated casualties that occurred on previous days. Similarly, not all civilian casualties that were reported from 15 to 21 May have been included into the above figures. Some of them are still pending corroboration and if confirmed, will be reported on in future updates.

2] The city of Kyiv, and Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Kherson, Kirovohrad, Kyiv, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Khmelnytskyi, Lviv, Poltava, Rivne, Ternopil, Vinnytsia, Volyn, and Zhytomyr regions.

3] Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Kyiv, Mykolaiv, Sumy, and Zaporizhzhia regions.

For more information and media requests, please contact:

Liz Throssell: + 41 22 917 9296 / [email protected] or
Ravina Shamdasani: + 41 22 917 9169 / [email protected] or
Marta Hurtado: + 41 22 917 9466 / [email protected]

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