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331 people die in east Ukraine since ceasefire — UN

Further prolongation of this crisis will make the situation untenable for the millions of people whose daily lives have been seriously disrupted, the UN says

GENEVA, October 8. /TASS/. From mid-April to October 6, at least 3,660 people were killed in eastern Ukraine and 8,756 were wounded, the UN Human Rights Office said in its report. At least 331 people have been killed since the ceasefire agreement had been reached in eastern Ukraine on September 5, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said.

The Monitoring Mission’s 6th report said there had been an absence of large-scale offensive actions since the ceasefire was announced on 5 September. It said in some areas artillery, tank and small arms exchanges had continued on an almost daily basis, such as in Donetsk Airport, in the Donetsk region’s Debaltsevo area and in the town of Shchastya in the Luhansk region.

“While the ceasefire is a very welcome step towards ending the fighting in eastern Ukraine, I call on all parties to genuinely respect and uphold it, and to halt the attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure once and for all,” the High Commissioner said.

“For almost half a year, residents of the areas affected by the armed conflict have been deprived of their fundamental rights to education, to adequate healthcare, to housing and to opportunities to earn a living. Further prolongation of this crisis will make the situation untenable for the millions of people whose daily lives have been seriously disrupted,” he said.

The report, which covered the events from August 18 to September 16, said, “During the reporting period, international humanitarian law, including the principles of military necessity, distinction, proportionality and precaution continued to be violated by armed groups and some units and volunteer battalions under the control of the Ukrainian armed forces.”

Particularly, the report said fighters of volunteer battalions such as Aidar, Dniepir-1, Kiev-1 and Kiev-2, could be involved in such crimes as kidnapping, abuse, illegal detention, murders and panel game.

“Armed groups continued to terrorize the population in areas under their control, pursuing killings, abductions, torture, ill-treatment and other serious human rights abuses, including destruction of housing and seizure of property. There have also been continued allegations of human rights violations committed by some volunteer battalions under Government control,” the report said.

“With the shift in control of territory during the reporting period between Government forces and the armed groups, the risk of reprisals against individuals for collaborating with ‘the enemy’ or for such perceived collaboration has increased,” the report said.

The UN High Commissioner stressed that the events in Donbass must be scrupulously investigated. “This is a call for justice, not retribution. All parties must ensure that there are no reprisals for perceived collaboration or affiliation with an opposing camp,” the High Commissioner said.

Al Hussein referred to the report’s cases of tensions between residents and internally displaced persons in some areas due to growing distrust fuelled by suspicions of potential connections with opposing groups. “It is crucial for the authorities to defuse such tensions,” he said.

The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine was created in March to collect information on possible human rights violations. The mission consists of 35 staff members. It works in such cities as Kiev, Lviv, Odessa, Donetsk and Kharkiv.