In 2014 and 2015, there were over 1,000 incidents of explosive violence in Ukraine.
Of the 3,435 deaths and injuries from explosive violence in Ukraine recorded in AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor in the last five years, 3,405 took place in 2014 (1,848) and 2015 (1,557). Before 2014, there were only 4 attacks involving explosive violence recorded – 3 of which were IEDs detonated on the same day in Dnipropetrovsk in April 2012, and the other later the same year.
This shows the massive escalation in violence that began in Ukraine in 2014. This violence stemmed from the revolution that began in February 2014 and Russia’s occupation of Crimea shortly after. This escalation in violence has predominantly taken place in the two provinces bordering Russia: Luhansk and Donets’k.
Where a state or non-state actor has been identified, a state actor has been responsible for 53% of civilian deaths and injuries. Where explosive violence has been committed by identified non-state actors, almost all incidents (97%) have been perpetrated by Ukrainian separatists.
Most attacks have taken place in populated areas and it is these – as you would expect – that have been responsible for the most civilian casualties. Explosive violence in populated areas actually accounts for 91% of all civilian deaths and injuries.
The most used form of explosive violence has come in the form of ground-launched attacks, which have accounted for 89% of all civilian deaths and injuries.
AOAV visited Ukraine in the summer of 2015 to report on the impact of grad missiles in the eastern port city of Mariupol. The report – Wide Area Impact – can be read here.
2016 Explosive Violence update
So far in 2016 (January – September), Ukraine has seen 138 deaths and injuries from explosive violence. Of these, 47% (65) have been civilians. Compared to the same period last year, this demonstrates a 92% reduction in civilian deaths and injuries from explosive violence.
The reduction in deaths and injuries may somehat be explained by a physical reduction in such violence, but it also is likely to be impacted by reporting fatigue.
When explosive violence has been used in populated areas, 100% of the casualties have been civilian. However, compared to other impacted countries, little of the explosive violence has in fact taken place in areas reported to be populated – only about 37% of civilian deaths and injuries occured in places reported as populated, such as residential areas or commercial premises.
80% of civilian deaths and injuries have been caused by ground-launched explosive violence such as shelling. The remainder have been due to IEDs and mines.
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.
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.