The conflict/war in the Donbass (the parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine in which pro-Russian separatists have declared independence) has cost several thousands of civilian lives from 2014 to 2022.

However, reports on various kinds of casualties seem to conflict among sources, and of course there is the question of intent vs. "collateral" damage. I have also heard several allegations of intentional targeting of residential areas in Donetsk and perhaps elsewhere by the Ukrainian military, several years back (perhaps in 2014).

To what extent / in what ways did the parties in that conflict actually target civilians, over the years?

Note: I'm asking about the period between 2014 and the Russian invasion of Feb 2022.


1 Answer 1


You can use this long post about the state of monitoring since 2014 (press translate)

Highlights include:

The 2016 report states that from 1 January to 31 December, the SMM documented 442 civilian casualties in the conflict zone — 88 civilian deaths (22 women, 58 men, one girl under 2 years of age, five boys and two adults whose gender has not been determined) and 354 wounded. Most of the cases (281 out of 442) occurred in the DPR and LPR.

Local residents of settlements on both sides of the contact line told OSCE members that they often saw mobile firing positions in their residential areas (so close that they could see flashes from the use of weapons):

One of the first notable incidents is bombing of Lugansk city hall on Jun 2, 2014. An air strike by two Ukrainian military planes left 8 dead, 28 wounded.

  • It's not clear to me that bombing the city hall (while of questionable military use) is a clear indication of targeting civilians. Russia has also bombed some governor buildings in the more recent conflict. Kharkiv ; Mykolaiv etc. Jun 13, 2022 at 19:11
  • Related Q here on that politics.stackexchange.com/questions/73337/… Jun 13, 2022 at 19:17
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    The Russian wikipedia article you linked to even says that "The leadership of the LNR calls the purpose of the airstrike an attempted assassination of the head of the Lugansk People's Republic, Valery Bolotov , and his entourage, who at that moment were in the building". That unfortunately make the target even more valid and the civilians who died "collateral damage". Jun 13, 2022 at 19:33
  • It's also worth recalling that the US bombed several of Saddam's palaces in the two Gulf wars, trying to get him personally. Jun 13, 2022 at 19:43
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    @Fizz I'm not sure that Saddam's palaces were publicly accessible, whereas town hall is usually situated downtown. It is debatable whether head of civil administration is a valid military target.
    – alamar
    Jun 13, 2022 at 19:51

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