The level of death, destruction, and suffering inflicted on Ukraine’s civilians is “abhorrent and unacceptable,” the Red Cross said on Tuesday.
At least 1,179 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and 1,860 injured since the start of the war between Russia and Ukraine on Feb. 24, according to estimates by the UN, which cautioned that the true figure is likely far higher.
More than 3.9 million Ukrainians have also fled to neighboring countries, with millions more displaced inside the country, according to the UN refugee agency.
At the same time, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) warned at a UN press conference that the war has resulted in a massive and deteriorating food security challenge.
Francesco Rocca, the president of the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC), said there is an urgent need of humanitarian access in Ukraine’s southeastern Mariupol city.
“There is an urgent need for access, not just to evacuate people who want to leave the city, but also to bring in essential goods. People in the city are living in unacceptable conditions without electricity and running water, lacking food, water, and basic items,” he said.
Ewan Watson, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said: “Over the last five weeks, the ICRC has been speaking with Russian and Ukrainian authorities about their obligations under international humanitarian law.”
These include practical steps to limit the suffering of civilians and those who no longer participate in hostilities, including the wounded, sick, and prisoners of war (POWs).
He was unable to say how many POWs each side had.
“Time is running out for civilians in Mariupol and other frontline areas who have now gone for weeks with no humanitarian assistance,” said Watson.
“The militaries on the ground need to give civilians and humanitarian organizations security guarantees and practical agreements to allow aid in and for those who wish to evacuate safely,” he added.
“We expect the parties to fulfill their obligations under the Geneva Conventions without further delay,” said Watson.