Ukraine death toll doubles in two weeks to 2,086: UN

Local residents protect windows with metal shields and plastic in Donetsk August 9, 2014. More than 1,100 people have been killed in the fighting in Ukraine since mid-April, according to the United Nations, in a civil conflict that has dragged ties b
Local residents protect windows with metal shields and plastic in Donetsk August 9, 2014. More than 1,100 people have been killed in the fighting in Ukraine since mid-April, according to the United Nations, in a civil conflict that has dragged ties between Russia and the West to their lowest since the Cold War. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

GENEVA (AFP) - The number of people killed in conflict-hit eastern Ukraine has nearly doubled in two weeks to 2,086, including at least 20 children, the UN human rights agency said Wednesday.

The toll, as of August 10, compared with 1,129 deaths counted on July 26 and should be considered "very conservative", the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said.

On June 18, the UN had said 356 people had died in the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

The death toll includes Ukrainian armed forces, civilians and armed groups, spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly said in an email, stressing that especially "civilian casualties are likely to be under-reported".

This, she said, was due to disrupted communication channels and the high level of insecurity that is preventing people from getting access to medical aid and being counted.

"There has been a clear escalating trend recently," Ms Pouilly said in an email.

She said more than 60 people had been killed each day on average since mid-April, but that between July 30 and August 5, the average jumped to at least 70.

The number of injuries have also skyrocketed to nearly 5,000, including at least 30 children, up from the nearly 3,500 injured tallied on July 26.