UNSC alarmed on Minsk deal violations in Ukraine
Iran Press TV
Sat Jun 6, 2015 7:41AM
A senior UN official has briefed the world body's Security Council on the Ukraine conflict, pointing to the persisting non-implementation of the Minsk deal as well as the heavy human cost in the country resulting from such violations.
"The full implementation of Minsk is sine qua non for leading eastern Ukraine and the country out of conflict," Said UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman in a Friday briefing of the 15-member Council. "The continued non-implementation of various provisions of the agreement entails dangerous limbo."
Feltman further expressed concerns that since the signing of the Minsk package in February, 400 more casualties have been registered, increasing the death toll in the still-raging clashes to over 6,400 people.
Meanwhile, according to conservative estimates relayed by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the hostilities have so far left at least 6,417 people dead and 15,962 wounded.
"We are either looking at a return to a deepening, intractable conflict or a momentary upsurge in parts of the conflict," he emphasized during the briefing. "We cannot afford either scenario."
The senior UN official also warned that the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine remained "dire" as well, with the country now ranking among the top ten nations in terms of internal displacement with over 1.3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). Over a year ago, however, the country had no IDPs, he noted.
In fact, according to a recent report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 857,000 Ukrainians have sought asylum, residence permits or other forms of legal stay in neighboring nations – an increase of almost 23,000 people in the past two weeks.
Despite a September 2014 cease-fire agreed in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, the situation in Ukraine has continuously deteriorated. In February 2015, the parties in Ukraine and the Trilateral Contact Group - French, Germany and Russia- signed a "Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements."
This comes while life in the crisis-torn provinces of eastern Ukraine has been described as "precarious from a healthcare standpoint" in a Friday UN press release. It added that services are "increasingly curtailed due to lack of medicine and medical equipment."
Addressing the issue, Feltman further said, "Of immediate concern is the now complete lack of humanitarian access across the contact line in either direction. This is preventing life-saving humanitarian assistance from reaching those most in need."
Meanwhile, Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin pointed to Kiev's "flagrant violation and blunt ignorance of the Minsk agreements" during the Security Council meeting on Friday, calling on the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of the Organization for Security Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) stationed in eastern Ukraine to explain the specific circumstances that have led to recent shelling and to identify the violators in the region.
"We call on the SMM OSCE to not only discreetly establish the ceasefire violations, but in addition to that to precisely report on the targets of the shelling and its victims – civilians or military divisions carrying out artillery attacks on residential areas," he said as quoted in an RT report.
Churkin further called on council members to bring their influence to bear on Kiev and "make all efforts" to ensure the situation in eastern Ukraine "doesn't spin out of control."
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