UN Security Council condemns ‘continuous’ ceasefire violations in Ukraine

Daniel Gerstle/IRIN | Many homes on the front line in Ukraine have been so badly damaged by shelling that they remain abandoned

Expressing grave concern over the recent deterioration of the security situation in eastern Ukraine and its “severe impact” on civilians, the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday underlined the need to scale up efforts to support the civilian population affected by the conflict.

In a statement read out by Vassily Nebenzia, the Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN and the President of the Security Council for June, the 15-member body condemned “continuous violations of the ceasefire regime, especially the use of heavy weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements, responsible for tragic deaths, including among civilians. ”

The Council also called for implementation of disengagement commitments and the “immediate withdrawal” of heavy weapons in accordance with relevant provisions of the Minsk agreements.

In the statement, the Council also welcomed the efforts of UN agencies working to address the “tragic humanitarian situation” in eastern Ukraine.

It expressed its support to the Organisation for Security and Co‑operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission and urged all the parties to facilitate its work, including safe and secure access throughout Ukraine as well as guarantee the safety of its staff and protection of its equipment.

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 a September 2014 ceasefire agreed in Minsk, the situation since deteriorated, with serious consequences for the country’s unity, territorial integrity and stability.