Current Crisis: The invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces continues to escalate and intensify. Heavy fighting and shelling continue across several towns and cities in Ukraine, with increasing human cost and humanitarian consequence. At least 752 civilian casualties, including 227 deaths, have been recorded by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) between 24 to 28 February. 15 of the deaths and 28 of those injured were children. Most of these casualties were caused using explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems as well as air strikes, according to the same source.
Reports of civilians trapped in towns and cities under shelling continue, including in Volnovakha and Mariupol in Donetska oblast as well as in other locations within and beyond eastern Ukraine. Hostilities or shelling have also continued in and around major cities, such as Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Kyiv. Clashes have also been reported near the “contact line” in eastern Ukraine, with communities on both sides severely impacted.
Damage and destruction to water, electricity, and sanitation facilities, as well as road and residential infrastructure continue to be reported across several areas, shattering people’s lives, and disrupting access to these vital services for hundreds of thousands.
Population movement remains fluid and yesterday numbers escalated with 200,000 crossing borders to flee the conflict, and as of 3 March, a total of 877,000 people have crossed into Poland, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, and other countries, according to UNHCR. In country, more than 100,000 people have been internally displaced so far with numbers escalating, according to the same source (Real figures are considerably higher as corroboration is ongoing, albeit with delays and security challenges and some sources say IDP’s may be closer to 200,000 – 300,000). Reports indicate that 30% of those crossing will move on to Western European countries quickly, within one to three days. Women and children still represent the largest populations of those displaced.