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West should stop political games around Russia’s humanitarian aid to Ukraine — diplomat

August 27, 2014, 17:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Konstantin Dolgov said the West should finally influence Kiev to start rectifying the unacceptable situation with human rights

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Russian humanitarian aid unloaded in Ukraine's Luhansk Region

Russian humanitarian aid unloaded in Ukraine's Luhansk Region

© ITAR-TASS/Ivan Yuryev

MOSCOW, August 27. /ITAR-TASS/. The West should stop political games around Russia’s humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry ombudsman for human rights, democracy and the rule of law Konstantin Dolgov said Wednesday.

“One-sided and politicized assessments of the situation in the human rights sphere, as well as the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, in particular, in its southeast, which are heard from different Western capitals, as well as from certain international human rights NGOs, keep surprising us,” Russian Foreign Ministry ombudsman for human rights, democracy and the rule of law Konstantin Dolgov said.

“[Officials] there keep ignoring the real scale of mass human rights violations committed by Ukrainian servicemen and Kiev-controlled paramilitary organizations,” he said.

“It’s time Western countries stopped shifting the blame onto others and put an end to inadmissible political games around the Russian humanitarian aid, which is in high demand by the suffering population,” Dolgov said.

Dolgov said the West should “finally influence Kiev to start rectifying the unacceptable situation with human rights, the rule of law and the disastrous humanitarian situation in Ukraine’s southeast,” adding that the West was directly involved in the situation.

“Extermination of southeast residents, including old people, women and children, the snowballing growth of the number of refugees [their number in Russia has exceeded 775,000 people] and internally displaced persons, destruction of vital infrastructure, hospitals and schools, continue,” the diplomat said.

“Kiev’s systematic suppression of unwanted mass media, the blocking of Russian television channels and the cynical fight against dissidence that regularly results in abduction and murders of journalists are actually ignored,” he said.

“The Kiev authorities have so far done nothing to investigate the bloody crimes in Odessa and Mariupol in May 2014, as well as mass shooting of people by snipers in Kiev in February,” Dolgov said.

He lamented that the European Union and the United States, as well as certain influential rights NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, “are shedding crocodile tears in connection with alleged violation by militiamen of international humanitarian law.”

“Aren’t these double standards? Where’s a professional and unbiased assessment of the real human rights and humanitarian situation in Ukraine?” Dolgov said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday citing the latest statistics released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) that the number of fatalities from the armed standoff in the embattled east of Ukraine has reached 2,249 and added that another 6,033 were injured as of August 19.

On August 22, Russia delivered over 2,000 metric tons of humanitarian aid, including food (grain, sugar, baby food), medications, sleeping bags and portable power generators, to eastern Ukrainian regions.

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry’s humanitarian convoy containing 262 trucks with relief supplies for residents of the war-torn southeast of Ukraine set off from the Moscow Region on August 12.

When the trucks were on the border with Ukraine, efforts to reach an agreement between Kiev, Moscow and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on specific terms of the convoy’s travel in Ukraine dragged on for too long, so Russia decided to send the trucks toward the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on its own.

Troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums and now call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics.

During the military operation, conducted since mid-April, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in it. Many buildings have been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled southeast.

The southern Ukrainian city of Odessa saw riots on May 2, during which soccer fans from other cities, as well as Right Sector militants and so-called “Maidan self-defense” representatives from Kiev organized a march along city streets. Clashes with federalization supporters occurred during the march.

Radicals set ablaze the Trade Unions House, where their opponents hid, and a tent camp where activists were collecting signatures for a referendum on Ukraine’s federalization and for the status of a state language for Russian. The attackers did not let anyone leave the burning Trade Unions House building.

At least 48 people died and 247 were injured in the clashes and the fire in the Trade Unions House. Another 48 people were listed as missing. Many Ukrainian politicians, including people’s deputy Oleg Tsaryov and Odessa regional council deputy Vadim Savenko, said the official death count figures were understated. They asserted that the death toll reached 116 but that the Kiev authorities concealed the facts.

In Mariupol in the Donetsk Region, Ukrainian law enforcers opened fire from armored vehicles on participants of a rally held in honor of Victory Day on May 9 who gathered near the building of the local Interior Ministry department and who were trying to prevent its storm. Nine people died and 42 were injured.

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