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UN: War in Ukraine has killed or injured nearly 18,000 civilians

origin 1A destroyed building is seen in Irpin Kiev, Kiev Oblast. Christophe Gateau/dpa

The number of confirmed civilian casualties in Ukraine is nearing 18,000, according to figures released by the United Nations, as Russia’s 10-month war against its neighbor continues.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stressed that the actual toll for Ukrainians was “significantly higher”, but that reliable data from frontline areas had been difficult to obtain.

From February 24, when Moscow launched its full-scale invasion, to December 26, 17,831 civilian casualties were recorded in the country: 6,884 dead and 10,947 injured.

Among those killed were 429 children, the UN agency said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with large area effects, including heavy artillery shelling, multiple launch rocket systems, missiles and airstrikes,” he said.

The hardest hit area was Donbass, which includes the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Russian forces have been shelling and shelling populated areas indiscriminately, killing civilians and destroying hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructure, the UN said earlier. In recent months, Moscow has focused on energy and water infrastructure.