At least 4,707 people have died in Ukraine in the nine and a half months since the start of an armed conflict between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, a United Nations team announced Monday. That’s an average of around 16 deaths per day.
Around 30 percent of those, or 1,357 people, have been killed following a shaky ceasefire in September that took effect as rebels and the military found themselves in a bloody stalemate. In addition, about 5 million people “are facing rising hardships,” including a lack of access to medical care or other services, according to the Associated Press.
The ceasefire appeared to crumble entirely earlier this month, but a “day of silence” agreed upon by both separatists and the military that started on Tuesday, Dec. 9 has extended into a week of reduced violence. No civilian casualties were reported between the beginning of the day of silence and Saturday, Dec. 13, according to a Sputnik News report.
At least half a million people have been internally displaced from the east since fighting began in April, mostly in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, which separatists declared independent states in the spring, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
The separatist movement bubbled up in the east shortly after Russia annexed the Ukrainian autonomous region of Crimea, which itself was a response to the overthrow of former President Viktor Yanukovych in February by pro-European protesters upset with his decision to nix a European Union trade agreement a few months earlier. NATO and the U.N. both accuse Russia of directly intervening in the east on behalf of the rebels and of supplying rebels with training and weapons.
The new, largely pro-European government has quickly pivoted away from Russia and toward Europe with EU trade deals and interest in NATO, which has further angered Russia and its supporters in the east. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday.