August 2022 marks the sixth month since the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine on the 24 February 2022. As heavy fighting continues in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine, widescale destruction of infrastructure, loss of life, and displacement are still being reported. There are daily reports of shelling in Kharkiv city and Kharkhivska Oblast, resulting in damage to civilian buildings and multiple civilian deaths and injuries, as well as destruction of crops. In the past week alone, one thousand homes were cut off from gas when shelling damaged a gas pipeline.
The total number of verified civilian casualties since February 2022 has exceeded 12,000. The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) has verified that, as of 24 July, 5,237 civilians were killed (2,019 men, 1,379 women, 164 boys and 143 girls) and 7,053 injured, but the actual totals are believed to be considerably higher.
The war in Ukraine has exacerbated price increases for cereal grains and food prices globally, becoming a great threat to food security in the global south.
On 23 July, one day after the agreement on grain shipments via Black Sea ports was signed in Turkey between Ukraine and Russia, the southern port of Odesa was hit by Russian missile strikes. The attack was condemned by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, but there have since been more attacks in the Odeska oblast, resulting in the deaths of 21 civilians and injuries to 50 others. The port city of Mykolaiv in neighboring Mykolaivska oblast also suffered from multiple shellings, which destroyed a warehouse serving as a humanitarian aid storage facility. Despite the disruption, there is now a glimmer of hope in easing the mounting global food crisis as the first grain shipment left the port on 1 August. Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine, referred to it as “a day of relief for the world,” particularly for nations at risk of food shortages due to disrupted supplies.
IOM is concerned about ongoing internal and cross-border displacement resulting from the war and continues to monitor the situation. On 1 August 2022, IOM in Ukraine released the seventh round of its Ukraine Internal Displacement Report, which recorded 6.64 million internally displaced persons in Ukraine as of 23 July, indicating an increase of 370,000 IDPs (6 per cent) since round six on 23 June. Critically, the report noted a rising need for financial support, NFIs, hygiene items, and food since previous rounds. Of all respondents currently in their place of residence, 18 per cent indicated they returned following a minimum of two weeks of displacement, equivalent to an estimated 5,547,000 returnees and a slight decrease from the estimate from Round 6. As the crisis continues to evolve, and with ongoing displacement, it underlines the need for a continued humanitarian response as well as long-term solutions.