While the attack on Ukraine is little more than a day old, it is already taking its toll on civilians, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Director Matteo Mecacci said at the Winter Meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly today.

The OSCE is facing one of its most acute security crises since World War II, with the dangerous decision taken to resort to armed conflict in place of dialogue. ODIHR is deeply concerned about the human impact of the military action initiated by the Russian Federation in Ukraine on everyone in the country, in particular civilians.

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There is already evidence of civilian deaths and much suffering, with thousands of people displaced as they leave their homes to seek safety. Documented fatal incidents include a ballistic missile strike and a bomb that struck a residential block. ODIHR is closely monitoring the situation, and will continue to assess developments as they unfold.

The law of war prohibits indiscriminate attacks and those that target civilians and civilian property. ODIHR calls on the parties to the conflict to uphold the commitments they have made to human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to observe all obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.

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