Russian attacks on civilian targets in Ukraine could be a war crime: UN rights office |

“Civilians are being killed and wounded in indiscriminate attacks, with Russian forces using explosive weapons of mass effect in or near populated areas,” it said. OHCHR Spokesperson Liz Throssell, speaking in Geneva. “These include rockets, heavy artillery shells and rockets, as well as air strikes.”

Schools, hospitals and nurseries strike

Ms. Throssell said that 15 days after the war, schools, hospitals and nurseries had come under shelling, adding that cluster bombs had also been used in some populated areas. .

As of midnight on March 9, the OHCHR had recorded 549 civilians killed and 957 wounded in Ukraine, while also acknowledging that number was likely significantly higher.

“On March 3, 47 civilians were killed when Russian air strikes hit two schools and several apartment complexes in Chernihiv,” Ms. Throssell said.

“On March 9, a Russian air strike hit Mariupol Hospital 3, injuring at least 17 civilians. We are still investigating reports that at least three civilians may have been killed in the strike. We spoke with various sources in Mariupol, including local authorities, which consistently showed that the hospital was clearly identifiable and operational when it was attacked. “

Mental base attack

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO), also condemned initial reports of an attack by Russian forces on a psychiatric hospital near Kharkiv.

“Just got a report from this morning from Kharkiv, the authorities that (a) mental institution has been attacked. If this proves to be true, this will be another health impact in Ukraine,” said Tarik Jasarevic, WHO spokesman, from Lviv in western Ukraine.

“According to the authorities, in this special institute, 300 people are there and about 50 people cannot move.”

To date, WHO has confirmed 29 attacks on health care facilities that have killed 12 people – including 2 healthcare workers – and injured 34.

Condemning all such targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure, OHCHR’s Throssell delivered a direct message to Moscow: “We remind the Russian authorities to direct the attacks attacks against civilians and civilian objects, as well as the so-called bombardment of towns and villages and other forms of indiscriminate attacks, which are prohibited by international law and may constitute a crime. war evil”.

Great Aid Activity

With more than 2.5 million refugees from the war now sheltering across Ukraine’s borders, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesperson, Matthew Saltmarsh, explain How large-scale humanitarian aid operations began, inside the country.

“In central and western Ukraine we are still operating,” he said, speaking from Rzeszów, Poland, noting that there are now at least two million internally displaced people and an additional 12.65 million. directly affected by the conflict, who are “facing freezing temperatures”.

A UNHCR spokesperson added that pre-prepared stocks and upcoming core relief items are ready for distribution in various locations across the country, including the northern regions. winter. The UN agency has also opened repositories in Vinnytsia, Uzhhorod and Chernivtsi, along with two in Lviv.

Caught in combat

Access to conflict-affected communities in cities including besieged Mariupol and Kharkiv is “very limited due to ongoing military operations and the increasing presence of bombs.” landmines, exacerbating humanitarian needs of the day,” explained Mr. Saltmarsh.

He noted that UNHCR personnel on the ground were caught up in the fighting, as were civilians. “Food, water, medicine and medical care, shelter, basic household items, blankets, mattresses, cash, building materials, generators and fuel are needed.”

Third country nationals

Of those seeking safety from shelling and bombing in Ukraine, some 116,000 third-country nationals have now sought to leave the country, according to the United Nations immigration agency, IOM.

“Dozens of our Member States have been contacted in recent days, asking for more than 14,000 third-country nationals to return from neighboring countries. So that’s a huge deal,” said Paul Dillon, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration.

On March 5, 2022, children and families arrived in Berdyszcze, Poland, after crossing the border from Ukraine, fleeing escalating conflict.

© UNICEF / Tom Remp

On March 5, 2022, children and families arrived in Berdyszcze, Poland, after crossing the border from Ukraine, fleeing escalating conflict.

Food has the potential to increase in price

Developments to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) presented the alarming effects on global food security because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which it continued to insist on calling a “special military operation”.

According to the new WFP reportwar could push food and fuel prices even higher, threatening vulnerable countries in particular and the agency’s own humanitarian operations.

‘Ring of Fire’

“The conflict comes at a time of unprecedented humanitarian need, as a ring of fire surrounds the earth with climate shocks, conflict, COVID-19 and rising costs bring millions closer to hunger”, the WFP said, adding that worldwide, 44 million people in 38 countries are currently “on the brink of starvation”.

Rations have been cut for refugees and other vulnerable communities across East Africa and the Middle East, including Yemen, “where 16.2 million people are food insecure and there are many conditions like famine”.

Lifesaving food delivered to people in Amhara, Ethiopia.

© WFP / Sinisa Marolt

Lifesaving food delivered to people in Amhara, Ethiopia.

Warning sky high food prices

Addressing those concerns, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) alert on Friday that international food prices had hit an all-time high, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent shockwaves through international commodity markets.

This is mainly due to the existing market conditions, but also due to the high prices of energy, fertilizers and all other agricultural services, FAO Director Qu Dongyu said during an extraordinary meeting with agriculture ministers from the G7 group of rich nations.

The FAO Food Price Index reflected this in February 2022 when it “hit a new historic record – 21% higher than it was a year earlier and 2.2% higher than the previous level.” previous peak in February 2011,” added the FAO Director-General.

Poorer countries may be hardest hit

“The crisis is a challenge to food security for many countries, and especially for countries dependent on food imports with low incomes and vulnerable populations,” he said. damage.

According to the FAO, wheat exports from Russia and Ukraine account for about 30% of the global market, while their combined exports of sunflower oil account for 55%.

Both countries are also prominent exporters of corn, barley and canola oil, and Russia is a major fertilizer exporter – ranking as the top exporter of nitrogen fertilizers in 2020, the leading supplier of potassium. second largest and third largest exporter of phosphate fertilizers.

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