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“We believe that the humanitarian situation in southeastern Ukraine is catastrophic,” Lavrov said in an interview with the Russia Beyond the Headlines supplement to the Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily and to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, adding that Russia’s assessment is shared by many international organizations.
“We are mainly concerned by the issues of providing the population of the southeast with warm accommodation and essentials in preparation for the winter,” Lavrov said.The conflict, during which Kiev has used heavy artillery, airstrikes, ballistic missiles and phosphorous bombs against militia in Donetsk and Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, has killed over 2,000 people, while more than 5,000 others, including many children, have been injured, Lavrov said.
“The civilian population has suffered the most. The vital infrastructure has been destroyed, including power and water supply systems, governmental and residential buildings,” Lavrov said, adding that some 200 local schools have been ruined and around 250,000 people in Luhansk have been left without drinking water.
Over 830,000 people have left Ukraine for Russia in the past five months, Lavrov said. Since the start of the year, over 254,000 people have applied for a refugee status in Russia. Over 57,000 people are currently staying in temporary accommodation settlements across the country.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its September 5 report on Ukraine that severe escalation of the conflict and intensified fighting has resulted in “the deterioration of the humanitarian situation, causing more civilian casualties and influx of people from conflict areas.