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Ban Ki-moon urges freedom of movement for civilians in Ukraine

August 18, 2015, 3:18 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
The UN chief also calls on all sides to take urgent steps to de-escalate the current situation and prevent a spiral of violence that will lead to more deaths
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© EPA/JUSTIN LANE

UNITED NATIONS, August 18. /TASS/. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on authorities to ensure the freedom of movement for civilians throughout Ukraine and to guarantee unrestricted access for humanitarian aid.

The statement was issued by the Office of the UN Spokesperson on Monday, shortly after Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council announced the move to close some transport corridors to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics.

The UN chief also "calls on all sides to take urgent steps to de-escalate the current situation and prevent a spiral of violence that will lead to more deaths, human suffering and destruction of infrastructure and negatively affect regional stability," the statement says.

Ukraine’s state agency said the move to shut down transport corridors near the inhabited localities of Mayorskoye and Zaytsevo comes "in connection with the risk of death for citizens." Similar measures will be implemented against other transport corridors, it said.

The deterioration of the humanitarian situation comes amid the intensified fighting between the Ukrainian forces and militias. In its latest report, the Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) notes the continuing violation of the ceasefire regime in Donbass.

The UN chief "calls on all sides to continue with dialogue and to fully abide by the spirit and letter of the Minsk agreements, including as related to the use of heavy weapons." "Continued cease-fire violations and the resulting loss of life are unacceptable," the statement says.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), a total of 6,832 people have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine since the conflict began in mid-April 2014 and the death toll continues rising.

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