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UN says shellings of Donetsk and Luhansk more intensive despite ceasefire regime

October 10, 2014, 20:54 UTC+3
Reports on serious violations of the ceasefire regime are obtained every day, says the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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A Ukrainian Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) drives on a road near Slaviansk, Ukraine, October 5, 2014

A Ukrainian Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) drives on a road near Slaviansk, Ukraine, October 5, 2014


UNITED NATIONS, October 10. /TASS/. Despite agreements on cessation of fire, shellings of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine have become more intensive, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Friday, October 10.

Reports on serious violations of the ceasefire regime are obtained every day, and intensity of shellings of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions’ districts has grown despite agreements on ceasefire reached in September and memorandum of nine points, the OCHA said in a weekly report.

The death toll as a result of the conflict in eastern Ukraine has grown by 55 people over the past week to reach 3,682, the OCHA said.

The UN OCHA’s figures include those killed in the Malaysian Boeing crash in eastern Ukraine. The Office also said 8,871 people have been wounded in the region. The previous report said the number of wounded was 8,446.

The UN pointed to the growth of the number of internally displaced persons - to 402,000 from 379,000. The number of refugees has not changed and totals 427,000; most of them have hidden in Russia.

Some 5.1 million people are currently in areas affected by hostilities, the OCHA said.

The UN also pointed to the problem of unexploded ordinance that poses a big threat to civilians, primarily to children. “Five children were wounded and two died as a result of unexploded ordinance (UXO) in Zuhres, Donetsk region on 4 October,” the report said.

To this end, the OCHA stressed the need to take immediate coordinated measures to remove and eliminate unexploded ordinance in eastern Ukraine.

The OCHA said the population in the areas affected by hostilities continues to need humanitarian aid. However, the OCHA warned against unilateral measures in the field.

“The provision of humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected areas in eastern Ukraine must be conducted in accordance with International Humanitarian Law and the approval of the Government of Ukraine. While recognizing the challenging humanitarian situation, any unilateral action has the potential of exacerbating an already dangerous situation in eastern Ukraine. All sides should continue to exercise maximum restraint and avoid escalation,” the OCHA said.

The UN took into account the countries’ efforts to support the Ukrainian population. The convoy of 107 trucks arrived in Kiev from Germany for dispatch to conflict-affected areas of eastern Ukraine.

In addition, “the Russian Federation has reported the dispatch of three humanitarian convoys to Donbas region in August and September, providing more than 5,700 tons of humanitarian assistance including food and water, medicine, bedding, generators and water filtering stations”, the OCHA said.

Ceasefire and Minsk agreements

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 Luhansk 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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