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Iran Press TV

UN chief Guterres calls on Ukraine, pro-Russians, to adhere to ceasefire

Iran Press TV

Sun Jul 9, 2017 2:4PM

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called on both the Ukrainian government and pro-Russia forces in the east to respect the terms of a ceasefire reached last month.

"We know that fighting is still happening. And, of course, our appeal is for a complete ceasefire," Guterres told journalists at the start of a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman on Sunday.

The UN chief elaborated by saying that the two sides had failed to respect the agreement on a so-called harvest ceasefire, which came on June 24 to allow local farmers to harvest crops. The deal, mediated by international monitors, has reduced violence in various areas in Ukraine's eastern region although sporadic clashes have continued along the front line. Nine government soldiers have been killed and dozens of others have been wounded since the ceasefire was implemented.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine began in April 2014 after a series of political developments in Kiev, where a Russia-backed government was ousted and pro-Western forces took power. The government and allies in the West have repeatedly accused Russia of having a major hand in the fighting, which has left more than 10,000 killed. Russia denies any involvement but says it would intervene militarily if Kiev suppresses the ethnic Russian population living in Ukraine's industrial east.

Guterres, who is on his first visit to Ukraine since taking office earlier this year, said the UN was ready to expand its humanitarian support for nearly two million people displaced by violence in eastern Ukraine.

"You can count on our strong commitment to support humanitarian action to bring some relief to the people that have been displaced," he said.

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