Photo: Zelenskiy Official Telegram channel
As of March 20, 22,209 civilian casualties were recorded as a result of Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine, including 8317 killed and 13892 injured according to UN OHCHR. OHCHR believes that the actual figures are considerably higher, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed and many reports are still pending corroboration. This concerns, for example, Mariupol (Donetsk region), Lysychansk, Popasna, and Severodonetsk (Luhansk region), where there are allegations of numerous civilian casualties. Since the start of the war, more than 1401 children have been injured or killed by Russian armed activities. 464 children were killed due to military activities, more than 937 children were injured mostly due to shelling and airstrikes.
8 113 170 individual Ukrainian refugees were recorded across Europe as of March 14.
16221 children have been reportedly taken to Russia according to Ukrainian government figures. On March 15, Ukrainian children were returned to Ukraine together with their parents and legal representatives. These are children from the cities of Kharkiv and Kherson regions, which were occupied at the beginning of the war.
Around 3000 civilians who remain in Bakhmut – out of a pre-war population of 72000 people – are in urgent need of assistance and protection. Due to the constant threat from ongoing hostilities, residents spend most of their time in basements, hiding from the fighting, with almost no access to essential services. Schools, hospitals and markets are non-functional, and the town is disconnected from water, electricity and gas supplies. Nearly 80% of houses in Bakhmut have reportedly been destroyed or severely damaged due to the active hostilities, according to the regional authorities.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ukraine and the Energy Community Secretariat on increased cooperation in rebuilding Ukraine’s energy sector was signed on March 15. The parties discussed steps to further synchronize the energy systems of Ukraine and the EU as well as to increase the capacity to export and import electricity. The Memorandum provides support for priority projects for the construction and reconstruction of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, as well as support for the restoration of alternative energy facilities. In addition, the parties will cooperate in preparing lawsuits against Russia to claim compensation for damage to the energy infrastructure.
On March 21, the European Union paid Ukraine the second tranche of macro-financial aid amounting to 1.5 billion euros from the package of 18 billion euros. Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis clarified that Ukraine has fulfilled the conditions for this payment, and has also appointed the head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.
Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the number of libraries in Ukraine has decreased by 2,358 (February 2022 – 14351, December 2022 – 11993). Thus, more than two thousand libraries cannot function due to the Russian invasion for various reasons. 47 Ukrainian libraries have been completely destroyed and cannot be restored. Another 434 have been damaged and need to be repaired. 42 Ukrainian libraries have completely lost their collections, and another 178 have partially lost their collections.
Agriculture production has decreased between 30-40% due to the war. One of the reasons is mines and explosives and land contamination. Currently the contaminated area equals territory the size of Britain, with the problem being most acute in the Kherson region.
The total number of damaged or destroyed objects of cultural heritage is more than 2148. Among them are 703 cultural buildings/palaces of culture, 348 religious buildings, 82 museums, and 22 theaters. As of February 25, 2023, 1322 cultural infrastructure facilities have been damaged as a result of Russian aggression, including 508 libraries. The most affected regions in terms of cultural and religious sites are the Kharkiv region, with 38.3%, the Donetsk region, with 16.2%, and the Luhansk region, with 7.5%.
In the year and a month since the start of the full-scale invasion, Russia has committed 505 crimes against journalists and media in Ukraine. In March 2023 eight freedom of speech violations committed by Russia were recorded. These include attacks on journalists and media offices, cybercrimes against Ukrainian media, and spreading Kremlin propaganda in the temporarily occupied territory of Zaporizhzhia oblast. In addition, four cases of cybercrime during the thirteenth month of the war were recorded.