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UN: Ukraine death toll nears 5,000

At least 4,700 people have been killed and more than 10,000 wounded in the conflict-affected areas of eastern Ukraine, the UN human rights office says.

It says more than five million people are living in the conflict areas where they face rising hardships and some struggle to stay alive.

At least 1,357 deaths have been recorded since the much-ignored ceasefire began in early September.

The latest findings from the Geneva office are based on reports from a 34-member UN monitoring mission in Ukraine during November and other figures through to December 12.

It says large-scale offensives have halted since the ceasefire but skirmishes and indiscriminate shelling of populated areas continue.

The report also notes lack of progress with several human rights investigations into alleged violations in Kiev, Kharkiv and Mariupol.

"The situation of many people, including those held against their will, in areas under the control of the armed groups may well be life-threatening," said the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein.

"The government of Ukraine remains responsible for protecting the human rights of all Ukrainians, including the right to health, education and social security, in all its territory, including areas it does not fully control."

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