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UN, October 3. /TASS/. A resumption of full-scale combat operations in Ukraine would result in a catastrophe not only for the former-Soviet republic but for the whole region as well and beyond its borders, a UN statement said on Thursday night citing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
“A return to full-scale fighting could be catastrophic for Ukraine, the region and beyond,” the statement said. “The Secretary-General is seriously concerned over the dangerous surge in fighting in recent days and mounting civilian casualties.”
The UN chief expressed his deepest concern over the most recent civilian deaths in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, which was subjected to artillery shelling in the past several days from pro-Kiev military despite ceasefire agreements reached last month between the warring parties in Ukraine.
The press service of Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) state council said on Thursday that on October 1 at least nine people were killed and another 30 wounded after Donetsk was shelled from the area of the airport, which DPR self-defense forces had been trying to recapture from pro-Kiev troops as they continued shelling residential districts of the city.
One of the facilities reported to be subjected to shelling was public school 57, where several adults were killed. There were no reports about casualties among children at the shelled school.
According to the UN statement, Ban Ki-moon also deeply saddened by the death of a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Laurent DuPasquier, who was killed on Thursday in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk after an artillery shell landed exploding near his premises.
“The Secretary-General is saddened and disturbed to learn of the death of an international humanitarian aid worker as a result of a shell landing near the International Committee of the Red Cross Headquarters in eastern Ukraine today,” the statement said. “This follows the appalling shelling of a school in eastern Ukraine yesterday which resulted in the death of a number of civilians.”
The 38-year-old Swiss employee arrived in Ukraine about six weeks ago and in the post of an administrator in the organization’s office in Donetsk he worked in the team of some 20 ICRC employees currently staying in the eastern Ukrainian city. DuPasquier worked for the ICRC for more than five years, carrying out assignments in Pakistan, Yemen, Haiti, Egypt and Papua New Guinea.
The UN secretary general urged the conflict parties in Ukraine to observe all ceasefire agreements reached last month in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.
“The Secretary-General expects all concerned to strictly adhere to their commitments under the Minsk Memorandum agreed on 19 September in order to ensure a sustainable cease-fire,” the statement said. “He reiterates that political and diplomatic efforts must be urgently redoubled toward this end.”
The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire and exchange of captives during the OSCE-mediated talks in Minsk on September 5 that came two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his seven-point plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine. The long hoped-for ceasefire took effect the same day, but reports said it had been repeatedly violated since then.
On September 19, the Contact Group consisting of representatives from Russia, Ukraine, the OSCE as well as representatives from the DPR and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) signed a memorandum outlining the parameters for the implementation of the ceasefire commitments laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.
Clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics, have claimed some 3,500 lives, according to the UN, forced hundreds of thousands to flee Ukraine’s embattled southeast and caused massive destruction.