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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN chief strongly deplores latest deadly attack in Ukraine

24 January 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned today's rocket attack in the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol which reportedly killed dozens of civilians and left another one hundred injured.

In a statement released by his spokesperson late this evening, Mr. Ban noted that the rocket attack appeared to have been launched indiscriminately into civilian areas, constituting a violation of international humanitarian law.

Shelling and rocket fire have, in fact, led to numerous civilian deaths in Mariupol and other cities in Ukraine's war-torn east over the past few months. The killing of civilians when an artillery shell hit a bus stopping for passengers in the Leninskyi district of Donetsk last week was the second bus attack, with significant casualties, in the last 10 days, bringing into stark focus the impact of the ongoing hostilities on civilians.

The Secretary-General also denounced the 23 January unilateral withdrawal from the ceasefire by the rebel leadership and, in particular, the group's “provocative statements” about claiming further territory, adding that this constituted “a violation of their commitments under the Minsk accords.”

In late February 2014, the situation in Ukraine transcended what was initially seen as an internal Ukrainian political crisis into violent clashes in parts of the country, later reaching full- scale conflict in the east. Despite the Minsk cease-fire, the situation in Ukraine has since continuously deteriorated, with serious consequences for the country's unity, territorial integrity and stability.

Just last week, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) confirmed that more than 5,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine in mid-April last year while some 10,948 people have been wounded.

Moreover, the UN has recently reported that since March 2014, more than one million people have been displaced from the conflict-affected areas, including nearly 530,000 people within Ukraine, of who at least 130,000 are children.

“The Secretary-General urges all concerned to redouble their efforts to revive the Minsk accords,” the statement continued. “Ukraine's peace, territorial integrity and stability, intrinsically linked to that of the broader region, must be urgently restored.”

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