Europe’s worst conflict in decades is set to complete three months in another ten days and there has been no moment of breakthrough even as the world awaits with a bated breath for an end to the violence in Ukraine. Russia’s focus has largely shifted to the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, the rebel-held parts which Moscow claims it wants to free. Amid the offensive, the United Nations Human Rights Council met on Thursday over the allegations of atrocities against civilians in the conflict-torn country.
Here are ten points on the Ukraine war:
1. “The pattern of abuses continued to be caused by the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas, such as shelling from heavy artillery, including multiple launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes,” an official UN statement on the special human rights session read.
2. The Russian forces were likely responsible for most casualties, but so too Ukrainian troops – albeit to a far lesser extent – said the UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet, in a video message.
3. The war in Ukraine, like all wars, is a child protection and child rights crisis, UN’s child rights body, UNICEF, has said.
4. At least 15 of 89 – one in six – UNICEF-supported schools in eastern Ukraine [ as of last week – had been damaged or destroyed since the start of the war, the UN has said. “Hundreds of schools across the country are reported to have been hit by heavy artillery, airstrikes and other explosive weapons…” it added.
5. Apart from this another global challenge that has been emerging from the war is the food crisis. On Thursday, the issue came up for discussion as leaders of G7 countries met.
6. “Twenty-five million tons of grain are blocked in Ukrainian ports, especially in Odessa. This is grain which is urgently needed as food in African countries and the Middle East. We must stand together in the face of this food crisis,” German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock was quoted as saying in reports at the start of the ministers’ meeting.
7. Meanwhile, Germany is also facing a gas supply cut from Moscow. Russia’s gas supply cut to Gazprom Germania units represents about 3 per cent of Russian flows to Germany, or about 10 million cubic meters per day, German economy minister Robert Habeck said Thursday in Berlin. The government will guarantee replacement gas contracts and won’t raise its gas emergency threat level, he said.
8. The cut in gas supply is being viewed as an action to retaliation to sanctions. While the world largely depended on Russia for the energy supply, there have global calls to reduce that dependence.
9. The US has claimed Russia has been forcing civilians from Ukraine into captivity as Ukraine said it had damaged a Russian navy logistics ship in the Black Sea, where there has been renewed fighting in recent days. “Thanks to the actions of our naval seamen, the support vessel Vsevolod Bobrov caught fire – it is one of the newest in the Russian fleet,” Bratchuk said.
10. More than six million people have been forced out of their homes in the 11 weeks of the conflict, according to the UN.
(With inputs from Reuters, AFP, Bloomberg)