UN, January 19. /TASS/. The United Nations is ready to support any effort aimed at de-escalation of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and to prevent further deterioration of the current situation, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday.
“The Secretary-General stresses that further deterioration of a situation that has led to heavy loss of life and civilian suffering must be avoided at all costs,” the statement said. “The United Nations stands ready to support all efforts toward de-escalation and the resumption of a genuine peace process to restore Ukraine’s stability and territorial integrity.”
The statement also said: “The Secretary-General is alarmed by the severe escalation of fighting for control of Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine, which has already caused numerous casualties and threatened to completely unravel a hard-won September 2014 cease-fire.”
“He implores all sides to make good on their commitments under the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, with the first step being an immediate and full cessation of hostilities,” the statement said.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Yury Biryukov stated on Sunday that the Ukrainian military had been ordered to open heavy fire at the positions of militias in the zone of the military operation in southeastern Ukraine. Self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) confirmed later that the city of Donetsk had been shelled by Ukrainian troops from all types of weapons.
The DPR’s press service reported late on Sunday that Ukraine’s armed forces shelled Donetsk, Gorlovka and positions of the DPR militias about 50 times throughout the day.
Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the Ukrainian military and militias on Sunday to immediately stop shelling each other’s positions and to pull out heavy weapons from the both sides of the conflict line.
According to the data provided by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) in late December, over 4,700 people were killed and 10,300 wounded since mid-April last year as a result of armed 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.
A ceasefire was agreed upon at talks between the parties to the Ukrainian conflict mediated by the OSCE on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.
Numerous violations of the ceasefire, which took effect the same day, have been reported since.
A memorandum was adopted on September 19 in Minsk by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE. The document outlined the parameters for the implementation of commitments on the ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.