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Ukraine: United Nations reports rising violence in recent months

The United Nations issues report June 13 warning that fighting in the east has increased in recent months despite ceasefire agreements

TIMEFRAME expected from 6/13/2017, 12:00 AM until 6/17/2017, 11:59 PM (Europe/Kiev). COUNTRY/REGION Ukraine

Event

On Tuesday, June 13, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a report that warned the fighting in eastern Ukraine has escalated in recent months. According to OHCHR, between February 16 and May 15, 36 civilians had been killed and another 157 wounded in the conflict. This is a 48 percent increase in civilian casualties compared to the previous three months.

Ukrainian Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) officials announced on Wednesday, June 14, that the highest number of ceasefire violations by the separatist forces in the past 24 hours occurred near Mariupol. Separatists fired mortars at ATO positions near Olhynka and Chermalyk, damaging homes and some infrastructure. In Donetsk oblast, fighting remains centered around Avdiivka, Pisky, and Nevelske. Officials in Avdiivka declared a state of emergency on June 13 after gas to the town was cut off for the sixth consecutive day. The fighting has damaged the gas pipeline to the town, which runs from separatist controlled territory into the ATO zone, and the separatists have not repaired the line. In Luhansk oblast, ATO positions in Novotoshkovskoye and Krymskoy were shelled with mortars. According to ATO officials, two civilians have been killed and another three wounded between June 13-14. A Ukrainian soldier was also wounded during the same time period.

Context

Fighting continues to take place between Ukrainian and separatist forces in eastern Ukraine despite the ceasefire agreement that came into effect on April 1. In accordance with the Minsk protocol (September 2014) and Minsk II (February 2015) a ceasefire has officially been in place for several years in eastern Ukraine (Donbass region) between Russian-backed separatists, who advocate closer ties with Russia, and the Ukrainian government. However, despite these agreements, fighting is regularly reported in the region. On April 23, an International Observer with the European Security (OSCE) was killed and two others were wounded by a landmine near Pryshyb (30 km [18.6 mi] northwest of Luhansk).

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict since 2014. Ukraine has reported the deaths of 19 soldiers since April 1, 2017, while Russian separatists announced the deaths of ten soldiers in April.

Advice

Due to ongoing fighting between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in the east of the country, many Western governments advise against travel to Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (Donbass region), as well as areas along the Russian border.

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