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Press briefing notes on Ukraine


Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Liz Throssell

Location: Geneva

Date: 08 March 2022

The High Commissioner has this morning delivered her global update to the Council, in which she has repeated her urgent call for a peaceful end to the hostilities in Ukraine and called on all parties to the conflict to take effective action to enable civilians trapped in areas affected by active hostilities to safely leave.

To date, we have recorded at least 1,207 civilian casualties since the latest armed conflict began on 24 February, including 406 people killed and 801 injured. However, we believe the exact figures are likely to be much higher as ongoing hostilities have hindered our ability to verify possible cases in many parts of the country.

Most of the civilian casualties are from airstrikes and explosive weapons used by Russian forces with wide area effects, including heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems. As a result, hundreds of residential buildings in many cities, including Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Mariupol and Kyiv have been damaged and destroyed.

We are alarmed by numerous reports of threats and actual harm against journalists. On 1 March, one journalist was killed in the attack at the TV Tower in Kyiv, and CNNTurk has reported that one of its vehicles was hit by weapons fire but that thankfully their reporter and cameraperson who were inside the vehicle were unhurt.

We are also concerned by reports of arbitrary detention of perceived pro-Ukrainian people in areas that have recently come under the control of armed groups in the east and by reports of violence against those considered to be pro-Russian in Ukrainian government-controlled territories.

Across the border in Russia, some 12,700 people have been arbitrarily arrested for holding peaceful anti-war protests, and new criminal code amendments introduce heavy fines and prison terms of up to 15 years for disseminating information deemed fake by the authorities or discrediting the Russian armed forces. We are concerned by this, and other overly broad and repressive laws that restrict freedom of expression, including media freedom, and hinder the free enjoyment of other civil and political rights.



For more information and media requests, please contact:

Liz Throssell + 41 22 917 9296 / elizabeth.throssell@un.org or
Seif Magango + 41 77 216 7626 seif.magango@un.org

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