On the morning of Saturday 19 August, a Russian Iskander missile struck the centre of Ukraine’s historical Chernihiv city. Seven civilians were killed, including a 6-year old girl, and over 150 people injured, including 15 children and 15 police officers.
A theatre and university building were damaged in the strike, which hit the town during an important Eastern Orthodox holiday – the Feast of Transfiguration – when apples and honey are consecrated in church. At the time, a gathering of drone manufacturers and aerial reconnaissance training schools was taking place at the theatre.
Since 24 February 2022, AOAV has recorded 3,348 incidents of Russian explosive weapon use in Ukraine, killing 4,377 civilians and injuring 10,103. Russian explosive weapons have killed or injured at least 529 children in Ukraine since the invasion.
91% (3,050) of those incidents were reported in populated areas, causing 95% (13,799) of civilian casualties of Russian explosive violence. The majority of incidents, 46% (1,541), were reported in urban residential areas, killing and injuring 4,961 civilians.
5,013 civilians were killed and injured across 765 incidents recorded in multiple urban areas. The third most impacted locations for both incidents and civilian casualties are villages, where 1,252 civilians have been harmed across 505 incidents.
The majority, 70% (10,139) of civilians harmed by Russian explosive weapons in Ukraine were killed or injured by ground-launched weapons, in particular non-specific shelling (6,762 civilian casualties), ground-launched missiles (1,236), ground-launched rockets (839), artillery shells (578), combined ground-launched weapons (574), mortar shells (77), tank shells (68), and grenades (5). Air-launched weapons have caused 15% (2,201) of civilian casualties from Russian explosive weapons, specifically air strikes (1,595 civilian casualties), air-launched missiles (509), combined air-launched weapons (53), air-dropped bombs (30), and air-launched rockets (14).
In 2022, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, on 24 February 2022, drove civilian casualties to the highest level the country has seen since AOAV began recording. Increasing by 36,868%, from 28 civilians harmed in 2021 to 10,351 last year, civilians accounted for 83% of all 12,417 casualties recorded in the country in 2022. Significantly, however, AOAV noted a lack of incident specific reporting around military casualties on both sides, affecting our ability to accurately portray patterns of harm. Of the civilian casualties, 3,672 were killed and 6,679 injured. At least 320 children were among the civilians harmed, 295 women, and 337 men.
AOAV’s casualty figures represent the lowest of estimations in terms of the number of people killed and injured by explosive weapon use. In an effort to quantify the explicit harm caused by specific explosive weapons, AOAV solely records incident-specific casualty figures, as reported in English-language media.
AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. All actors should stop using explosive weapons with wide-area effects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.
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