Razumkov Centre: Civil-Military Co-operation in Protection of Civilians During the Ukraine War

2024-02-08 | Expert publications

Protection of civilians in war becomes an increasingly pressing issue due to the spread of violence and conflict around the world. In 2022, 56 countries were affected by armed conflicts, killing 147,609 people. The UN estimates that 100 civilians die in conflicts every day.

Protection of civilians is a key aspect of warfare, an ethical and strategic imperative in armed conflicts where the enemy uses tactics to harm civilian population. According to the UN, since the outbreak of the full-scale war in Ukraine and as of 21 November 2023,2 at least 10,000 civilians have been killed, including more than 560 children; more than 18,500 have been injured; more than 13.5 million Ukrainians (including 3.5 million children) were forced to leave their homes; about 6 million are refugees, 8 million are internally displaced, and 11,000 Ukrainian civilians are missing. Many of the dead and injured were tortured and sexually abused by the russian invaders. Civilians’ homes, residential areas, and social infrastructure have become targets for russian massive artillery, bomb, drone, and missile strikes. All this suggests that russia is committing genocide against the Ukrainian people.

Under these circumstances, protection of civilians in general and civilmilitary co-operation in particular are especially relevant for Ukraine. These issues are addressed at both the national and local levels, involving relevant government services, law enforcement agencies, territorial communities, and civil society organisations. Studying the best foreign practices plays an important role in these activities.

Since 2014, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, other law enforcement agencies, and the state as a whole have gained their own civil-military co-operation experience in protection the civilian population during war. The creative use of this experience is critical for Ukraine itself and may also be useful for its foreign partners.

This report focuses primarily on the protection of civilians and the role of civilian co-operation of both the Armed Forces and state civil protection services.

Read the full study here.