The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) has claimed that more than 5,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24, adding that the real number is likely much higher.
HCHR, which has dozens of human rights monitors in the country, said in its weekly update that 5,024 people had been killed and 6,520 injured.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities said their forces attacked a Russian ammunition depot in southern Ukraine overnight, resulting in a massive blast that was captured on social media.
The southern command of Ukraine’s military said a rocket attack hit the depot in Russian-held Nova Kakhovka, some 55 km east of the Black Sea port city of Kherson, also occupied by Russian forces.
The precision of the strike indicated that the Ukrainian armed forces used US-supplied multi-launch high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) to hit the area.
Ukraine has in recent days hinted that it could launch a counter-offensive to retake territory in the south of the country, while Russia allocates resources to capture the entire eastern Donbass region.
Russian news agency Tass offered a different account of the blast in Nova Kakhovka, saying that a mineral fertilizer warehouse blew up and that a market, hospital and houses were damaged in the strike. Some of the ingredients in fertilizers can be used in ammunition.
A satellite photo taken yesterday and analyzed by The Associated Press showed extensive damage. A massive crater stood right where a large warehouse-like building once stood in the city,
Ukraine now has eight HIMAR systems, a truck-mounted high-accuracy missile launcher, and Washington has promised to send four more.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, at least 16 civilians have been killed and 48 others injured by Russian shelling in the past 24 hours, Ukraine’s Presidential Office said yesterday.
Cities and towns in five southeastern regions came under Russian fire, the bureau said.
Nine civilians were killed and two others injured in Donetsk province, which covers half of Donbass.
Russian rocket attacks targeted the cities of Sloviansk and Toretsk, where a kindergarten was hit, the presidential office said.
The British military said Russia continues to make “small, incremental gains” in Donetsk.
The death toll from a Russian missile attack that hit an apartment building in Donetsk on Saturday rose to 38, Ukrainian officials said yesterday.
In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and the surrounding region, Russian attacks hit residential buildings, killing four civilians and wounding nine, Ukrainian officials said.
Ukrainian authorities also said Russian fire hit the southern city of Mykolaiv yesterday morning, hitting residential buildings and two medical facilities. Twelve people were reportedly injured.
Meanwhile, air raid sirens sounded yesterday in the western city of Lviv – the first daytime sirens there in over a week – and in other areas of Ukraine as Russian forces continued to advance.
In eastern Luhansk, “fighting continues near the villages” on the administrative border with neighboring Donetsk, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said. “The Russian army is burning down everything that gets in its way. The artillery fire does not stop and sometimes lasts four to six hours at a time,” Mr. Haidai said.
In other developments, the Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Iran next week.
Putin will travel to Tehran next Tuesday to attend a trilateral meeting with leaders of Iran and Turkey, a format for Syrian talks.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Russia is seeking hundreds of Iranian surveillance drones, including weaponized ones, for use in Ukraine.
Russian and Turkish military officials are scheduled to meet in Istanbul today to discuss the transportation of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/ukraine-war-has-killed-over-5000-civilians-says-un-human-rights-office-41835726.html The war in Ukraine has killed over 5,000 civilians, according to the UN Human Rights Office