Over 2,000 schools, 500 cultural sites destroyed in Ukraine - Ukraine Defense Ministry

5,024 Ukrainian civilians had been killed and 6,250 had been injured since the war began.

 The Ukrainian national flag is seen in front of a school which, according to local residents, was on fire after shelling, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine February 28, 2022. (photo credit: Vitaliy Gnidyi/Reuters)
The Ukrainian national flag is seen in front of a school which, according to local residents, was on fire after shelling, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine February 28, 2022.
(photo credit: Vitaliy Gnidyi/Reuters)

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry shared a part of the toll that the Russian invasion has extracted on the country's civilian sector on Thursday — how many cultural and educational institutions were hit during the war.

"Since the end of February, 2,129 educational institutions have been bombed and shelled, 216 of them have been completely destroyed," Tweeted the Defense Ministry.  "Due to massive shelling, 25 orphanages, group homes and nursing homes have been damaged."

The Ministry also called Russia a terrorist state for the alleged destruction of 530 "Ukrainian institutions of culture and art" including theaters and religious and cultural centers. 

In July, the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner reported that 5,024 Ukrainian civilians had been killed and 6,250 had been injured since the war began.

Accusations of war crimes

"Despite promises to protect and defend civilians, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and his army stand accused of war crimes," the United Kingdom's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said on Thursday.

 Debris is seen next to a partially collapsed building is seen, after a school building was hit as a result of shelling, in the village of Bilohorivka, Luhansk, Ukraine, May 8, 2022.  (credit: STATE EMERGENCY SERVICES/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS) Debris is seen next to a partially collapsed building is seen, after a school building was hit as a result of shelling, in the village of Bilohorivka, Luhansk, Ukraine, May 8, 2022. (credit: STATE EMERGENCY SERVICES/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

The office accused Russian forces of various damages to civilian objects, including the indiscriminate killing of civilians, attacking schools and hospitals, sexual violence and forced population transfers.

"Despite promises to protect and defend civilians, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and his army stand accused of war crimes."

United Kingdoms Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Amnesty puts some blame on Ukraine

However, also on Thursday, human rights group Amnesty International accused Ukraine of endangering civilians by deploying military objects near civilians and launching attacks from populated residential areas.

"Ukrainian forces have put civilians in harm’s way by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas, including in schools and hospitals," said Amnesty. "Such tactics violate international humanitarian law and endanger civilians, as they turn civilian objects into military targets. The ensuing Russian strikes in populated areas have killed civilians and destroyed civilian infrastructure."

President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Amnesty's report was "trying to shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim," according to Reuters.