Death toll in Ukraine fighting hits 2 593

Kiev - A total of 2,593 people, including civilians as well as Ukrainian and separatist combatants, have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine since it erupted in mid-April, a senior UN human rights official said on Friday.

"The trend is clear and alarming. There is a significant increase in the death toll in the east," Ivan Simonovic, UN Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, told journalists.

"The current number of killed is 2 593 - close to 3 000 if we include the 298 victims of the MH17 (Malaysian airliner) plane crash," he said.

Human rights violations

Simonovic, presenting a report by a UN monitoring mission, said civilian casualties would continue to rise "as each side increases its strength, through mobilisation, better organisation or the deployment of new fighters and more sophisticated weapons and support from outside."

The death toll was nearly 400 more than that given in the report, which covered the period up to 17 August.

Simonovic said that the alleged increased participation of foreign fighters in the hostilities - a reference to Russian troops and volunteer fighters - was especially disturbing.

The report accused pro-Russian separatists of a wide array of human rights abuses, including murder, abductions and torture, and said they were receiving a "steady supply" of sophisticated weapons and ammunition.

The report, prepared by the UN human rights office in Geneva, also cited reports of human rights violations by Ukraine's military forces and special battalions run by the Interior Ministry.

"Armed groups continue to commit killings, abductions, physical and psychological torture, ill treatment, executions, murder and other serious human rights abuses," the report said, adding that violations were disproportionately targeting civilians.

"The Ukraine military has reported shelling from (Russian) territory...and of the illegal use of landmines in Ukraine territory," the monitors said.

- Reuters
Read more on: un russia ukraine mh17
Shaun O'Meara 2014-08-29 05:30:21 PM
Anc as well as Tutu and Vavi. Why are you not wanting kick Russia and others out of S.A as in Israel they also stating civilians are being killed. Is it due to the Russians lining your pockets with dollars? You bunch of double standard pigs.
Diana Gill 2014-08-29 06:03:17 PM
Carry on jumping and shouting glory to the heroes. Ukrainian money is nearly 14 to the dollar, industry going to stand still, energy crisis on the horizon, external and internal debt growing. No its all irrelevant, just carry on jumping.
Ndlovu Bigone 2014-08-29 09:55:21 PM
And Zuma is in Russia. Why isn't he wearing a Scaff in the Ukranian national colours protesting against an invasion or occupation. where are all the protestors?
Mufunwaini Tshifhiwa Bruce 2014-08-30 09:40:27 AM
i am a south african in ukraine in the eastern part and i have to say that i am pro ukraine and support ukraine all the way. Russia is an aggressor and doing what ever they can to hinder progress of this vibrant and determined nation. Majority of Ukrainians, russian and ukrainian decided to live by european annd not russian standards. And punishment is war and economic blackmail. victory to ukraine
Nathania Goosen 2014-08-30 09:49:15 AM
They must get rid of Poroshenko, he is a murderer of his own people
Sean Mitchell 2014-08-31 01:13:58 PM
Diana. Your invective would indicate that you are a vehement Russian Nationalist and thus incapable of forwarding a balanced view. Please try calming down, take a big breath, try and see the Ukrainian side of the argument and think.