Briefing the Security Council on the situation in eastern Ukraine, the top United Nations political and humanitarian officials has underlined that continuing fighting in the region, with only short periods of respite, have exasperated human suffering.
“Since 7 January this year, and in particular over the last few days, we have seen a dangerous intensification of the conflict,” Jeffrey Feltman, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs told Council members today.
“The entire length of the ‘Contact Line’ has seen a serious escalation of hostilities, and there is still a risk of further deterioration of the situation,” added Mr. Feltman.
According to reports, there were more than 10,000 explosions in the Donetsk region over 24 hours, and heavy fighting has been reported near Mariupol, Popasna and the Svitlodarsk/Debaltseve areas, both in Government-controlled and non-government controlled areas, along with use of heavy weapons such as multiple-launch-rocket systems which are prohibited by the Minsk Agreements.
Furthermore, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission has recorded damage to civilian houses and a school in populated areas of Avdiivka, raising serious concerns about possible violations of international humanitarian law by all sides.
Since the start of the conflict, almost 10,000 people have been killed (Ukrainian armed forces, civilians and members of armed groups), and over 23,000. Over 2,000 of those killed were civilians.