19 Dec 2018 21:42

Number of civilian casualties in Donbas down by half in 2018 - Sajdik

MINSK. Dec 19 (Interfax) - The number of civilians killed in the Donbas conflict area in 2018 has dropped by half to 43, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Envoy to the Trilateral Contact Group Martin Sajdik said.

"From the start of this year to December 17, the number of civilian fatalities has decreased by half compared to the same period last year, and the number of those injured decreased by 52%," Sajdik told journalists in Minsk on Wednesday.

Hence, 43 civilians have been killed and 182 injured in the conflict zone in Ukraine in 2018, he said.

The number of civilian casualties has so decreased to the lowest level since the start of the conflict, he said.

Nevertheless, some alarming trends are persisting, Sajdik said. "According to non-governmental organizations, about 7,000 square kilometers in eastern Ukraine is mined and contaminated with other explosive devices. This makes it one of the most heavily mined territories in the world," he said.