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UN rights chief: Russia to blame for ‘vast majority’ of civilian deaths in Ukraine

Volunteers load bodies of civilians killed in Bucha onto a truck to be taken to a morgue for investigation, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
Volunteers load bodies of civilians killed in Bucha onto a truck to be taken to a morgue for investigation, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

BERLIN — The UN’s human rights chief says her office has found that Russian forces and affiliated armed groups are responsible for most civilian deaths during the war in Ukraine.

High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet says the “vast majority” of civilian casualties have been caused by the use of explosive weapons, including heavy artillery, multiple launch rocket systems, and missile and airstrikes.

“According to our information, while such incidents can be attributed to both parties to the conflict, most of these casualties appear attributable to the Russian armed forces and affiliated armed groups,” Bachelet tells a special session of the Human Rights Council today.

Ukraine and its backers led a push to convene the special session of the 47-member body. The Geneva-based council is set to vote on a resolution that would reiterate its demand “for the immediate cessation of military hostilities against Ukraine.”

The UN General Assembly voted last month to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, the UN’s top human rights body, over allegations of war crimes by Russian forces.

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