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UN: Ukraine conflict death toll hits 2,600, civilians ‘trapped inside conflict zones’

‘At least 2,593 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine since the start of the Kiev’s military operation against anti-government forces there started in mid-April, according to a new estimate by the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights.

The death toll includes civilians, members of the Ukrainian troops and also fighters in the anti-government forces.

“The trend is clear and alarming. There is a significant increase in the death toll in the east,” Ivan Simonovic, U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, told journalists.

“The current number of killed is 2,593 – close to 3,000 if we include the 298 victims of the MH17 (Malaysian airliner) plane crash,” he said.

The report, issued on Friday, August 29, 2014, and covering the period July 16 to August 17, condemns the killing and wounding of civilians in urban areas, which have lately turned into battlefields.

The report says half the population of the cities of Lugansk and Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, have now left. However, evacuation has not been easy and not all of those wanting to flee were able to do so.

Some civilians lost their lives while trying to escape the violence, as the report says refugees were targeted and killed on their way out of conflict zones.

“Supposedly ‘safe’ corridors established by the Ukrainian forces to enable residents to flee from these cities traversed areas where the fighting was ongoing. Civilians using these corridors were subsequently killed or injured,” the UN HR office statement on the report reads.’

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