Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 02 February 2016


Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2014

At least 2,135 (1,824 killed; 311 injured)

Casualties in 2014

148 (2013: unknown)

2014 casualties by outcome

46 killed; 102 injured (2013: unknown)

The total number of mine/ERW casualties in Ukraine in 2014 is not known; totals presented here are based on aggregate numbers in media reporting. In March 2015 it was reported that at least 42 children were killed and 109 were injured by mines/ERW in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine since March 2014. UNICEF stated that “The number of children killed and maimed by mines and unexploded ordnance would be significantly higher if we include non-government controlled areas.”[1] In January 2016, a media report stated that between 2 June 2014 and 28 December 2015, 261 people had been killed and 479 injured by mines/ERW.[2] Representatives of Ukraine also reported almost 200 mine/ERW casualties (45 people killed and 150 injured) in the first half of 2015. Some 95% of those casualties were military personnel.[3] In July 2015, the ICRC tweeted “Almost every day, people are killed and maimed by #mines and explosive war remnants in eastern #Ukraine.”[4]

As of 31 December 2015 Ukraine had not submitted a CCW Protocol V Article 10 report for calendar year 2013; therefore the number of annual casualties in 2013 due to explosive remnants of war (ERW) leftover from World War II remained unknown.

The Monitor has recorded at least 2,135 (1,824 killed; 311 injured) in the Ukraine to the end of 2014.[5] The UN reported that more than 1,500 civilians were killed in Ukraine between 1945 and 1995 in mine/ERW incidents. Another 130 people were killed during clearance operations in the same period.[6] The Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) reported that between 1996 and 2008 there were 229 ERW casualties (100 killed; 129 injured), including 59 children, due to “handling of devices.”[7]

Cluster munition casualties[8]

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that during the use of cluster munitions in 2014 “cluster munitions killed at least 6 people and injured dozens” in Ukraine.[9] HRW reporting for 2015 included 66 cluster munition casualties that occurred during attacks.[10]

Victim Assistance

The total number of mine/ERW survivors in Ukraine is not known, although there are reported to be hundreds of casualties from the conflict in eastern Ukraine.[11] Prior to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, media reports indicated that tampering with ERW was a significant cause of casualties.[12] Many mine survivors are thought to be veterans of the Soviet Army, injured during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979–1989).

Many persons with injuries, impairment or disabilities did not have access to any form of assistance from government or NGOs due to reduced mobility, increased vulnerability and emergency humanitarian needs related to the security situation.


Disability issues, including physical rehabilitation, the provision of prosthetics and assistive devices to survivors, as well as employment and other economic inclusion activities are the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Policy.[13] The Ministry of Health was responsible for emergency and long-term medical care.[14]

Inclusion and participation of survivors

Ukraine stated that “we believe that after recovery, many victims of anti-personnel mines are actively involved in charitable and volunteer organizations in Ukraine, which are aimed at helping victims.” Survivors were actively involved as advisers to the heads of central executive authorities, as well as members of public councils at state agencies that are responsible for the rehabilitation and assistance to victims of war, including landmine survivors.[15]


The National Society of the Red Cross conducted first-aid training for volunteers in violence-affected areas in 2014. More than 100 first-aid providers received training in Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk with ICRC support and 200 doctors attended war-surgery seminars in Donetsk, Lugansk, Mariupol and Slovyansk. More than 2,100 people benefited from repairs to several hospitals. Medical facilities in Donetsk, Lisychansk and Slovyansk received surgical equipment supplies. Health structures in Donetsk, including the medical service of one armed group, also received ad hoc donations of medical supplies.[16]

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provided supplies and medicines for healthcare consultations, and provided individual counselling sessions. MSF ceased activities in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) in September 2015 and in Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) in October 2015.[17]

A special NATO trust fund for prosthetics for soldiers was agreed between Ukraine and NATO in September 2015.[18] The trust fund aims to provide military assistance in physical rehabilitation (including prosthetics) for injured soldiers, as well as for the establishment of an appropriate physical rehabilitation system in Ukraine.[19] This significantly expands Ukraine’s capacity to assist landmine survivors and other persons with disabilities due to weapons. The trust fund was expected to finance assistance both in Ukraine and abroad. Measures were also being taken to provide professional, social and psychological rehabilitation of landmine victims, including family members of casualties. A monitoring mechanism for people in need of prosthetic limbs identified 386 people by November 2015. Since the beginning of the conflict in eastern Ukraine to November 2015, a state budget was provided for prosthetic devices for 146 people, and another 48 people were in the process of receiving prostheses.[20]

In 2015 Handicap International was developing a project to enhance the capacity of health, social and collective structures in in order to address the needs of conflict affected people. The project also promotes the inclusion and protection of persons with disability to improve national capacity.

Laws and policies

Legislation prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, air travel and other transportation, access to health care, and the provision of other state services. These provisions were not effectively applied. Legislation requires that public buildings be made accessible to persons with disabilities. However this was not adequately enforced and most buildings remained inaccessible, restricting the ability of such persons to participate in society. Consequently, access to services remained difficult.[21]

By law employers must set aside a quota of 4% of employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. It was reported that many people employed to fill the quota requirement received minimal salaries, but did not actually work at the companies of employment. Legislation also requires employers to take into account the individual needs of employees with disabilities. Generally these laws were not enforced. State employment centers lacked resources to place students with disabilities in appropriate jobs. On 19 November 2014, the Law on the Protection of Rights and Freedoms of Internally Displaced People came into effect. The law provides 880 hryvnia ($55) per month for persons with disabilities.[22]

Ukraine ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 4 February 2010.

[2] Oksana Grytsenko, “Minefields Kill 261, Wound 479,” Kyiv Post, 21 January 2016.

[3] Interview with Col. Oleksandr Shchebetiuk, Head of Engineer Ammunition Service, Ukrainian Armed Forces, in Geneva, 27 June 2015.

[5] The cumulative casualties are calculated using UN data for 1945–1995 (1,500 civilians; 130 deminers killed), Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) data for 1996–2008 (100 killed; 129 injured), and CCW Protocol V Article 10 report data for 2009–2011 (42 killed; 64 injured). See also previous Ukraine country profiles for 2010 and 2011 available on the Monitor website.

[6] ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 1999: Toward a Mine-Free World (New York: Human Rights Watch, April 1999).

[7] Monitor analysis of MES, “Daily Reports,” for calendar year 2008.

[8] Casualties occurring during cluster munition attacks and strikes are recorded separately from the Monitor mine/ERW casualty total.

[9] HRW, “Ukraine: Widespread Use of Cluster Munitions,” 20 October 2014.

[10] See “Cluster Munition Ban Policy Profile (2015): Ukraine,” Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor 2015.

[11] Oksana Grytsenko, “Minefields Kill 261, Wound 479,” Kyiv Post, 21 January 2016.

[12] The total includes 2009–2010 casualty data and Monitor analysis of MES, “Daily Reports,” from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2008.

[13] Statement of Ukraine, Mine Ban Treaty Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 28 November 2015.

[14] Statement of Ukraine, Mine Ban Treaty Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 2 December 2015.

[15] Ibid.

[16] ICRC “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva May 2015, p. 382.

[19]Ukraine and NATO launch two trust funds,” Vector News, 22 September 2015.

[20] Statement of Ukraine, Mine Ban Treaty Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 28 November 2015.

[21] US Department of State, “2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Ukraine,” Washington, DC, 25 June 2015.

[22] Ibid.