Geneva, May 10 (EFE).- The United Nations fears thousands of civilians died in Mariupol while Russian forces besieged the port city, the organization said Tuesday.
The UN Human Rights office has estimated that at least 3,381 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the beginning of the war.
“The actual figures are higher and we are working to corroborate every single incident,” head of UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner, said at a press conference in Geneva Tuesday.
Bogner said that she and her team visited 14 towns in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions that were occupied by the Russian Armed Force.
“In Bucha and other settlements to the north of Kyiv that were occupied by Russian armed forces, we have reports of the unlawful killing of over 300 men, women and children.
“Unfortunately, these numbers will continue to grow as we visit more areas,” she said.
Bogner said such killings violate the right to life under international human rights law and that many of these allegations may amount to war crimes.
“Each civilian death is a tragedy. Depending on the circumstances, the death of a single civilian or someone hors de combat may constitute a war crime, as they are protected persons under international humanitarian law.”
Meanwhile, local authorities in Mariupol said some 100 Ukrainians were still at the Azovstal steel plant that has been besieged by Russian troops for weeks.
The UN head said that the mission was also receiving allegations of rape and sexual violence against civilians.
“In one town that we visited a woman was raped and killed allegedly by a Russian soldier. The same soldier then attempted to rape her neighbour. This woman’s husband intervened, but was then shot by the soldier. He later died,” she said.
The UN mission has been working in Ukraine since 2014 following the outbreak of the conflict in the eastern Donbas region.
“The best way to end the violations that we have been documenting will be to end the hostilities,” Bogner urged. EFE