Ukraine Conflict | Humanitarian Conditions in Conflict Affected Areas of Ukraine

May 31, 2022
Analysis Brief


On June 3rd it will be 100 days since the Russian Federation launched a military offensive into Ukraine. While the whole country has been impacted by the conflict, settlements in the Eastern, Northern and Southern regions of Ukraine have experienced the most intense conflict. As of May 30th, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had recorded 8,900 civilian casualties inside Ukraine: 4,074 killed and 4,826 injured (since the incursion began), although the actual figure is assumed to be far higher (OHCHR 30/05/2022).

The conflict has also resulted in wide-scale destruction including damage to 12 airports, 40 million m2 of housing, 25,000 km of roads, 300 bridges and overpasses and 23% of the railway network (Interfax 25/05/2022). Approximately one third of Ukraine’s population has been displaced with 6.8 million people leaving Ukraine to neighbouring countries and currently an estimated 7.134 million are internally displaced (UNHCR accessed 01/06/2022, IOM 30/05/2022). The number of internally displaced persons has now dropped from a peak of just over 8 million (IOM 09/05/2022), however the majority (3.9 million) continue to be from

the east of the country, the main focus of the current Russian offensive. Even as fighting continues to lay waste to settlements along the front line in parts of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, people are returning to cities in north, the scene of intense fighting during the first three months of the war. IOM estimates that around 1.7 million people have returned to the north of the country and a further 941,000 to Kyiv and its environs (ISW 31/05/2022, IOM 30/05/2022).

Many settlements on the outskirts of Kyiv as well as the cities of Chernihiv, Sumy and Kharkiv have been devastated by the conflict with areas formerly occupied by Russian forces amongst the worst affected. Satellite imagery shows the extent of the damage around Kyiv (UNOSAT 26/04/2022, UNOSAT 12/04/2022), while a recent report from Amnesty international outlines a evidence of war crimes perpetrated in these areas (AI 06/05/2022). Many areas are contaminated by mines and UXO’s (as well as booby traps left by retreating Russian soldiers); this is impeding safe returns and also hampering logistics and aid distribution (France 24 20/04/2022, OCHA 14/04/2022). The physical damage to roads, bridges and railways as well as the supply of utilities such as electricity and water are also barriers to a return to normalcy.

This brief analyses the impact of the fighting on populations in areas most affected by the conflict. This includes areas where active conflict is taking place, as well as areas that were contested but are now relatively far from the front line. The brief however does not analyse in detail the situation in areas currently controlled by Russian forces as information is limited and the sources available cannot always be verified.

Report PDF