UN chief condemns shooting of Ukrainian plane, 49 aboard killed

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras (file photo)

14 June 2014 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today condemned in the strongest terms the downing of a Ukrainian military airplane today in the eastern city of Lugansk, killing all 49 people aboard.

“The continuing violence in eastern Ukraine - characterized by growing loss of life and a deteriorating humanitarian situation - highlights the need for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a resolution of the crisis through negotiation and dialogue,” Mr. Ban said in a statement from his spokesperson.

The UN chief appealed to all sides to implement urgently the 17 April Geneva Agreement, which offered a “clear path to a peaceful solution”. The accord, struck in Geneva at a meeting between Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the European Union, outlined a series of steps to de-escalate tensions in eastern Ukraine that reportedly include demobilizing militias and vacating seized Government buildings.

The Geneva Statement capped months of political unrest in Ukraine that led to the removal by Parliament of President Viktor Yanukovych in February. This was followed by increased tensions in the country's autonomous region of Crimea, where Russian military were subsequently deployed and a secession referendum was held in mid-March, in which the majority of the region's people voted to join Russia.

By mid-April, tensions flared in eastern Ukraine as Lugansk, Kharkiv, Donetsk and at least 5 other cities in the region were targeted by uprisings.

In today's statement, Mr. Ban reiterated support for the newly-elected president, Petro Poroshenko, and the people of Ukraine with whom he stands in solidarity during this difficult time.

“Everyone must do their part to bring Ukraine back from the brink and ensure its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he underscored.


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