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Kiev official: Military op death toll is 478 civilians, outnumbers army losses
478 civilians, including seven children, have been killed in Kiev’s military crackdown on the eastern regions of Ukraine, the country’s deputy health minister said on Thursday.
"The amount on civilian casualties is, unfortunately, greater  than the military ones,” Vasily Lazoryshynets, deputy health  minister, said as cited by ITAR-TASS.
“In the area of the operation in eastern Ukraine, 478  civilians have died, including 30 women and seven children,”   he said.
According to Lazoryshynets , a further 1,392 people were injured  in the fighting, with 104 women and 14 children among them.
“Two hundred and seventy-nine currently remain in  hospital,” he added.
Earlier in July, Ukraine’s National Security Council said that  200 soldiers and law enforcement officers had been killed and  over 600 injured during the so-called “anti-terrorist  operation.”
Later on Thursday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Health reduced the  figure on the civilian death toll given by Lazoryshynets.   

 According to its statement, the deputy minister “only  provided the latest statistics on the overall mortality level in  the areas [where the operation is taking place].”   

However, the ministry failed to release any other data on the  amount of civilian casualties in Ukraine’s south-east. The crackdown on the south-east started in mid-April, after  people in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions refused to recognize  the coup-imposed authorities in Kiev and demanded federalization.   

 The Ukrainian military and National Guard resorted to airstrikes  and shelling in their struggle against the self-defense forces in  Donetsk and Lugansk.   

 The operation stalled for some time, but then Kiev achieved major  military gains last week by taking control of important militia  strongholds – the cities of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk.   

 Government forces are now preparing to storm the regional  capitals of Donetsk and Lugansk, with an adviser to Interior  Minister Stanislav Rechinsky promising that the military  operation would be successfully completed in a month.

Disregard of civilians by Kiev troops saw the number of Ukrainian  refugees fleeing to Russia reaching 110,000 people, while 54,400  others were displaced within Ukraine, according to stats from the  UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

A report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian  Affairs says over 4.5 million civilians remain in the war zone in  Ukraine.   

 Russia, which announced a state of emergency in six of its  regions due to the arrival of Ukrainian refugees, has urged Kiev  to take the UN’s concerns into account.

Moscow has demanded the Ukrainian authorities “take immediate  steps to de-escalate the violence, ensure the early beginning of  ceasefire negotiations and improve the humanitarian  situation,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

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