AOAV’s monitoring project, launched in October 2010, uses English-language media reports to capture information on who has been killed and injured by incidents of explosive violence. We have over 10 years of explosive violence data recorded and analysed. The data below focuses on Ukraine.
Explosive Violence in Ukraine 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. 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.
72% (7,452) of civilian casualties in Ukraine were caused by ground-launched weapons, which also accounted for 81% (1,494) of the 1,854 incidents recorded in the country last year. Air-launched weapons, which accounted for 6% (105) of incidents, caused 15% (1,543) of civilian casualties. On average, therefore, 15 civilians were harmed per airstrike in Ukraine in 2022.
85% (1,575) of incidents of explosive weapon use in Ukraine were recorded in populated areas, compared to 16% (18) in 2021 – a proportional increase of 431%.
State actors were the reported perpetrators in the case of 94% (1,745) of incidents in Ukraine last year, compared to 20% (22) in 2021. Similarly, in 2021 39% (11) of civilian casualties were caused by state actors, compared to 98% (10,178) in 2022. While Russian proxy groups and Ukrainian separatists perpetrated the majority of incidents in 2021, 74% (81), the shift incurred by the Russian invasion is illustrated in the fact that the Russian armed forces caused 90% (1,668) of incidents and 90% (9,290) of civilian casualties in Ukraine last year. 88% (1,472) of Russian explosive attacks in Ukraine were directed at populated areas.
Donetsk was by far the worst affected region in the country last year. 36% (3,738) of civilian casualties and 35% (658) of incidents were recorded there, followed by 1,667 civilians harmed in Kharkiv, 871 in Mykolaiv, 713 in Zaporizhzhya, and 710 in Kherson. Almost five times more regions of Ukraine were impacted by explosive weapon use in 2022 compared to 2021: incidents were recorded in five regions in 2021, and in 25 regions last year.
Russia’s invasion has been characterised by deadly attacks targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, with 45% (754) of Russian attacks directed at urban residential areas, 27% (457) across multiple urban locations, and 7% (121) in villages. The conflict has also been defined by the increasing polarisation of the warring parties and their allies, with seemingly few opportunities for diplomatic solutions to emerge as the rhetoric becomes increasingly confrontational, pitching the war as a battle for democratic ideals or a resistance to Western imperialism.
A Decade of Data in Review: Ukraine, 2011-2020
- Ukraine has been the 12th worst-affected state by explosive violence globally over the past decade.
- From 2011-2020, AOAV recorded 5,049 deaths and injuries from explosive violence in Ukraine – of these, 2,705 (54%) were civilians.
- When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 84% of those killed or injured were civilians.
- Ground-launched weapons caused, by far, the most harm in this period, with 90% of all civilian casualties resulting from this type of explosive.
- IEDs were responsible for 4% of civilian casualties, whilst airstrikes accounted for 3%.
- 2014 was the worst year in this period for civilian casualties in Ukraine, with AOAV recording 1,428 deaths and injuries from explosive violence.
Children in Ukraine endure a year of horror amid escalating conflict
UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell reports that one year after the escalation of the war in Ukraine, children have been significantly impacted, with violence, fear, loss, and tragedy disrupting every aspect of their lives.
98% of casualties from Russian use of explosive weapons in towns and cities civilians
New analysis by AOAV has found that, since 2012, when Russian armed forces used explosive weapons in towns and cities, 98% of the resulting casualties were civilians.
Casualty reporting in Ukraine: AOAV debate in UK Houses of Parliament with Nobel Peace Prize winner Oleksandra Matviychuk
In July 2022, AOAV convened a meeting in the Houses of Parliament to discuss casualty recording in Ukraine.
Invasion of Ukraine sees 90% increase in ground-launched explosive weapons in towns and cities – new research
A shift to Russian ground-launched weapons in towns and cities a major feature of current Ukrainian war compared to previous conflict, AOAV's new analysis shows
As war devastates Ukraine, AOAV examines the country’s existing landmine problem
Around 2 million people are estimated to be exposed to the threat of landmines on either side of the 450km long ‘contact line’ in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine.
Wide-Area Impact – Investigating the wide-area effect of explosive weapons
This report analyses the impact of air-dropped bombs in Yemen, mortar attacks on the Syrian-Jordanian border and multiple-rocket attacks in Ukraine.
Will Mariupol be a turning point in Ukraine’s explosive crisis?
AOAV asks whether the shocking Grad rocket attack in Mariupol, on 24 January 2015 will be the wake-up call needed to see an end to the use of heavy explosive weapons in populated areas in Ukraine.
“Notorious”: Human Rights Watch speaks out against rocket use in Ukraine
Unguided Grad rockets have been used by both forces affiliated with the Ukraine government and those opposed to it, Human Rights Watch say in a new press release launched Friday.
Air strike in Ukraine: An eastern crisis worsens
A reported airstrike on 2 June in Lugansk is the latest and perhaps most alarming escalation in the crisis in eastern Ukraine. AOAV urges all parties to show restraint in the use of explosive weapons.