The elderly suffered or died at a disproportionately high rate after Russia invaded Ukraine, a UN report published today revealed, with some dying because they were unable to get their medicine or leave the basements of their buildings .

According to the report commissioned by UN human rights monitors, about a third of the civilians killed in the first year of the war, or 1,346 out of 4,187 recorded casualties, were over 60 years old.

The tally only includes people whose ages are known and the actual number of victims is much higher, the UN says. About a quarter of Ukraine’s population is elderly.

Russia denies targeting civilians in Ukraine.

In one incident in Yahidne in March 2022, ten elderly people died after being barricaded for weeks in the basement of a house after Russian troops converted the building into a base, according to the report. Others with reduced mobility were unable to reach safety, such as a 65-year-old woman with one leg amputated, who burned to death when the building she lived in caught fire after a bombardment.

Russian checkpoints in Kherson last year also blocked movement, causing several elderly people with diabetes to die because they were unable to take their medication, the report said.

The UN found that the elderly were particularly affected by power outages due to Russian attacks on critical infrastructure since October 2022 that trapped many of them in their apartments on higher floors when their apartment building elevators stopped working.

Others had to be rushed away, sometimes in wheelchairs because there was no time to bring mobility aids such as crutches or pi, the report said. Many were left behind.

Those on both sides of the front line found it very difficult to access their pensions due to the collapse of postal and banking services, according to the UN report.