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Red Cross admits Ukraine is in a state of civil war

It urges to respect international humanitarian law

GENEVA, July 23. /ITAR-TASS/. The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Wednesday that Ukraine was in a state of civil war and called on the parties in conflict to respect international humanitarian law.

“Fighting in eastern Ukraine continues to take its toll on civilians, and we urge all the sides to comply with international humanitarian law, otherwise known as the law of armed conflict,” ICRC director of operations Dominik Stillhart said.

“These rules and principles apply to all parties to the non-international armed conflict in Ukraine and impose restrictions on the means and methods of warfare that they may use,” the Red Cross said in a statement received by Itar-Tass.

Prior to that, the Geneva-based humanitarian organization had refrained from giving the exact definition of a conflict that is under way in Ukraine.

An internal armed conflict or a “non-international armed conflict”, according to the term used by the Red Cross, means that the country is being torn by a civil war. Though the Red Cross is not officially saying the term “civil war”, this is exactly how the conflict in Ukraine can be classified, the Red Cross said.

“The ICRC reiterates that, under international humanitarian law, attacks may be directed only against military objectives and not against civilians, nor against civilian objects such as homes, schools, medical facilities and vehicles, community shelters or places of worship.

International humanitarian law also stipulates respect and protection for the civilian population and those not (or no longer) participating in hostilities, such as the sick, the wounded and those who have been detained, who must be treated with dignity at all times,” Stillhart went on to say.

He arrived in Ukraine on Wednesday to discuss with the parties in conflict the ongoing repatriation of the bodies of those who died in the Boeing 777 crash over Ukraine’s Donetsk region on July 17.