The use of long-range rocket missiles by the Russian army is attributed to almost half of the recent civilian deaths far behind the front lines, according to the UN. The actual number of civilian deaths is expected to be significantly higher than reported, with more than 10,000 civilians killed since the Russian invasion began in February 2022.
Most of the deaths were caused by explosive devices and weapons such as grenades, missiles, and cluster bombs. The head of the UN observation mission in Ukraine, Danielle Bell, noted that about half of the more recent deaths occurred far behind the front lines. Elderly people make up a disproportionately large number of those killed, possibly due to their inability or unwillingness to leave their homes and seek safer places. More than a third of the victims are over the age of 60, even though that age group makes up only a quarter of the population.
Russia denies accusations of deliberately targeting civilians, rejecting the claims made by the UN. Despite this denial, evidence suggests that Russian forces have been responsible for numerous civilian casualties during their invasion of Ukraine.