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Intensity of hostilities in east Ukraine drops thanks to ceasefire agreement - UN report

October 08, 2014, 9:01 UTC+3

The document underlines that the situation in some areas in the conflict zone remains rather calm, for example, in the city of Luhansk

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GENEVA, October 8. /TASS/. Thanks to the recent ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine, the intensity of hostilities in the area has significantly dropped although the truce is becoming more and more fragile and is nearly daily violated, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said.

The scale and intensity of combat operations have considerably gone down, the OHCHR said in a regular report on the situation in Ukraine obtained by TASS that will be officially published later Wednesday. The document covers the period from August 18 to September 16, 2014.

Although there are fewer deaths in Ukraine’s embattled east, civilians and servicemen keep dying every day, the sixth report says.

The document underlines that the situation in some areas in the conflict zone remains rather calm, for example, in the city of Luhansk, whereas others become an arena for more active clashes and hostilities, like Donetsk, Debaltsevo, Gorlovka, Ilovaisk, Pervomaisk and Schastye where residents come under cross fire and shellings.

The report says that overall, since the signing of the ceasefire deal in early September and until September 13, a total of 49 Ukrainian servicemen were killed and 242 were wounded in the country’s east. No data on the death toll of militiamen or civilians over the period were cited.

The document separately considers the humanitarian situation in areas controlled by militiamen.

Despite the truce, many people in the conflict zone have been deprived of water supplies and electricity for a second month in a row; they have only restricted access to medical services and education, note employees of the 34-strong monitoring mission deployed in Ukraine in March.

The report calls the situation in the Luhansk Region particularly complicated. It cites Ukraine’s Regional Development, Construction and Utilities Ministry data saying 4,500 residential buildings and 4,700 energy and water supply infrastructure facilities have been destroyed during fighting in the east of Ukraine.

As of September 12, there was no water in 22 inhabited localities of the Donetsk Region, while 93 were without electric power. A total of 32 hospitals do not work. Overall, according to the UN, more than 5 million people reside in east Ukrainian regions directly affected by hostilities.

The report also cites government-provided information that about 40,000 midsized and small enterprises shut down in Donbass (Donetsk and Lugansk regions) due to hostilities, which affected 54% of the regional entrepreneurs.

According to the UN, some 3,500 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine’s war-torn southeast as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions during Kiev’s military operation conducted since mid-April to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR).

The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on cessation of fire and exchange of prisoners during talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk. The ceasefire took effect the same day but reports said it has occasionally been violated.

Ukraine’s parliament on September 16 granted a special self-rule status to certain districts in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions for three years. The Verkhovna Rada also passed a law on amnesty for participants of combat activities in Ukraine’s troubled eastern regions.

On September 20 in Minsk, the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE adopted a memorandum outlining the parameters for the implementation of commitments on the ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.

The document contains nine points, including in particular a ban on the use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons with the calibers of over 100 millimeters to a distance of 15 kilometers from the contact line from each side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions.

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