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Destruction of orphanage in Ukraine's Sloviansk breaches international humanitarian law

Russia’s Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Supremacy of Law Konstantin Dolgov says this is not the first incident when peaceful civilians come under fire in east Ukraine
Destructions in Sloviansk (archive) ЕРА/JAKUB KAMINSKI
Destructions in Sloviansk (archive)

MOSCOW, July 03. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s human rights commissioner said the destruction of an orphanage in Sloviansk breaches international humanitarian law.

“If there is evidence, this breaches the norms and principles of international humanitarian law. This seriously violates human rights. This is a crime,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Supremacy of Law Konstantin Dolgov said on Thursday.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first incident when peaceful civilians, particularly children, come under fire within the continuing punitive operation. This gives a signal that violence, bloodshed and the punitive operation must be immediately stopped,” Dolgov told ITAR-TASS.


Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine reach package of agreements on truce

On July 2, the Russian, German, French and Ukrainian foreign ministers met in Berlin and agreed on a package of agreements on the truce in Ukraine.

An unconditional ceasefire in the south-east of Ukraine is not a goal in itself but a step towards peace talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“An unconditional ceasefire is very important but it’s not a goal in itself. It is necessary, first of all, in order to save people’s lives, prevent the death of more peaceful citizens and further destruction of infrastructure and civil facilities, and create conditions for serious talks with the participation of all Ukrainian regions in order to come to an agreement on how to live further in the Ukrainian state. There is a very clear milestone for that - the Geneva Communique, and we are convinced that it is absolutely essential to adhere to its provisions,” he said.

At the same time, he stressed that the truce must not be used for regrouping forces and said that calls urging the militia to disarm under the threat of destruction were unacceptable. “The militia will either disarm or be destroyed - I strongly reject this approach,” Lavrov said.

Moscow expects the third parties to act concertedly and prod the leadership of Ukraine into beginning a dialogue.

“The talks should lead to a sustainable settlement of the crisis in general and to the agreement on the future system in Ukraine,” the Russian minister said.

In his opinion, a ceasefire in Ukraine can be reached only in a format where both sides of the conflict are represented. “When we talk about the need to negotiate a ceasefire, this can be done in a format where both conflicting parties are represented. Only a dialogue between the parties directly involved in the conflict, primarily the Ukrainian authorities and representatives of the south-east, can lead to an agreement on a long-term resolution of the crisis,” Lavrov said.