The third quarter of 2018 saw an intensification of armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, with the highest number of security incidents reported so far in 2018, despite the two back-to-back ceasefire agreements in June and August. Although the ceasefires did not hold, they still contributed to a 66 per cent decrease of conflict-related civilian casualties, compared to the second quarter of 2018.
Most notably, civilian casualties due to small arms fire (SAF) reduced significantly by 80 per cent.
However, lethal risks of landmine and explosive remnant of war (ERW) remained widespread, with growing number of mine-related civilian casualties, which stood at 112 by the end of September. In April, a family of four was killed instantly when their car drove over an anti-vehicle mine in a wooden area near the Siversky Donets River (Luhanska oblast, GCA). Humanitarian actors delivered Mine Risk Education (MRE) to over 20,000 people, the majority of them were children, to minimize the risks of landmines and ERW. August was also the busiest month at the checkpoints since their establishment in 2015, with 1.3 million civilian crossings, despite insecurity and mine contamination.
Humanitarian actors continued to respond to the needs of people affected by the conflict. By the end of September, nearly 900,000 Ukrainians have been reached by some form of assistance or protection services, representing a 43 per cent achievement against the overall target. In addtion, another 100,000 people have received humanitarian assistance and protection through the non-HRP projects. This was higher than the achievement over the same period of 2017. The increase correlated with the higher level of humanitarian funding received so far in 2018, which currently stands at $107 million. Of this, over $66 million has been allocated to the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). In addition, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocation of $5.9 million at the end of June enabled a rapid scale-up of humanitarian response in the area where needs were the most acute and urgent. Out of 18 convoys, which crossed the ‘contact line’ in the third quarter of 2018, nine of them carried humanitarian relief items supported by the CERF allocation.