The civilian population is NEVER a target and we call for the respect of international humanitarian law. 

We condemn recent attacks in Ukraine targeting a children's hospital. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA) in Ukraine has resulted in severe civilian casualties and significant damage to infrastructure, exacerbating a humanitarian crisis. These practices conflict with international humanitarian law and have led to widespread international condemnation and calls for accountability. Long-term, the extensive destruction poses major challenges for reconstruction and the psychological recovery of the affected population. 

Gregor Robak-Werth, WeWorld Country Representative in Ukraine 

Following the recent attacks in several cities of Ukraine by the Russian Armed Forces, dozens of people have been dozens of people have been injured and more than 30 killed . The 7th of July a children's hospital in the centre of Kyiv has been heavily damaged, despite under international humanitarian law hospitals have special protection and civilians must be protected. 

We are present in Ukraine since March 2022 to provide humanitarian aid to the population affected by the conflict, in the city of Kyiv and also in Kharkiv and Donetsk, close to the eastern front line, carrying out multi-sectoral interventions for the most vulnerable groups.  

The year 2024 continues to see significant damage inflicted on civilians in the conduct of the war. The civilian population should never be a target. Bombing and shelling civilians in populated area are against humanitarian and international human rights law. For this reason WeWorld together with other international NGOs (Handicap International, Care, Oxfam) signed a joint statement on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA) in Ukraine. 

The statement: 

Since the beginning of the year at least 860 civilians have been killed and 2580 wounded in Ukraine in at least over 950 incidents involving the use of explosive weapons with wide area effect in populated areas. 

The month of May has registered the highest record of civilian casualties since June 2023 and a significant increase in civilian deaths compared to April 2024. This increase is mainly due to the ground offensive launched by the Russian Federation in the Kharkiv region.  

This offensive has severe consequences for civilians, they have overall been particularly exposed to the use of explosive weapons since the escalation of the war in February 2022.  

The complete statements highlights 22 significant incidents, based on the reports of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, along with 5 last significant incidents that occurred in June 2024, involving the use of explosive weapons with wide area effect in populated areas that have resulted in the death or injury of civilians. 

The bombing and shelling of Ukrainian towns and villages is directly affecting the civilian population, who face a high risk of death, war-related injuries and psychological trauma, resulting in increased needs for rehabilitation, psychological and psychosocial support and other services. The new offensive by the armed forces of the Russian Federation is leading to an upsurge in bombardments in populated areas, with devastating consequences and reverberating effects for civilians in terms of access to essential services, health, food and energy supplies.  

We strongly denounce the harm caused to civilians by bombing and shelling of towns and cities taking place in the current war in Ukraine. We condemn all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. This includes violation of the principles of distinction, proportionality and feasible precautions, the use of indiscriminate attacks, the use of internationally prohibited weapons, such as landmines and cluster munitions, the attacks on civilians and civilian objects, including health facilities and other critical civilian infrastructure, and attacks against medical and humanitarian workers.

We also call upon governments to urgently endorse and implement the Political Declaration on strengthening the protection of civilians from the humanitarian consequences arising from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.