GENEVA—Armed militia have created a "reign of fear" in eastern Ukraine, killing and torturing civilians in the chaos-stricken region, the United Nations said in a human rights report released on Wednesday.
Over the past two months, at least 367 people have been killed in the conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine government, according to the report. It is unclear whether that figure includes 87 military personnel who have been killed in the conflict.
Gianni Magazzeni, a top official at the Geneva-based Commission for Human Rights, said many of the killings were the work of separatists, a lot of whom want deeper ties with neighboring Russia, trying to intimidate supporters of the country's government.
"People can be shot on sight at checkpoints. They can be shot on sight if they support Ukraine unity," Mr. Magazzeni said at a news conference to detail a new report by the U.N.'s Human Rights Monitoring Mission. People bringing food to Ukrainian soldiers were also targets of the militia, he said.
The report, which covers the month between May 7 and June 7, is the monitoring mission's third since it was deployed in March. Since that time, the situation in Ukraine, particularly the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, has deteriorated.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Wednesday that the government forces would unilaterally declare a cease fire to give separatists an opportunity to put down their weapons. Mr. Poroshenko, who spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone on Tuesday night, didn't provide a timetable for cease fire but said it would be declared "in days" as part of a broader peace proposal.
In a statement, Navi Pillay, the U.N.'s high commissioner for human rights, said the actions of the armed groups were leading the eastern regions of the country toward "misery, destruction, displacement and economic deprivation."
"All they have achieved is a climate of insecurity and fear which is having a hugely detrimental impact on many thousands of people," Ms. Pillay said. "The time has come to put down the guns and talk."
The U.N. report said the militias roaming the eastern part of the country often have members who aren't Ukrainian and joined the fight from the Russian Federation, including Chechnya and other republics of the North Caucasus. It also said the targets of violence had expanded beyond journalists, politicians and activists to the broader population.
Mr. Magazzeni said at least 15,000 people have now been displaced from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.