In phone call with President, Ban expresses ‘increasing concern’ about Ukraine crisis

A UNHCR staff member asks a displaced Ukrainian man about the situation in his native Donetsk region, which has been heavily affected by the conflict. Photo: UNHCR/I. Zimova (file)

14 August 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has spoken with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, reiterating his urgent call to redouble political and diplomatic efforts towards a peaceful resolution in the crisis-torn country.

In a telephone call last night, Mr. Ban told Mr. Poroshenko that he “has continued to follow the crisis in Ukraine closely and with increasing concern,” according to a UN spokesperson.

The Secretary-General also expressed hope that there will be tangible progress in implementing the President’s peace plan which was announced in June. According to media reports, the peace plan involves proposals for decentralizing power, holding early elections, and creating a buffer zone on the Ukrainian-Russian border.

Mr. Ban also offered the support of the Organization, in coordination with international partners, to aid the humanitarian situation.

In Eastern Ukraine, fighting in and around population centres has resulted in heavy loss of life and very significant damage to property and civilian infrastructure.

Briefing the Security Council last week by videoconference, Ivan Šimonović, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, also said that the human rights situation has deteriorated significantly in pockets of territory in Luhansk and Donetsk, which are controlled by armed groups and where the Government has been undertaking its security operations.

He noted that the “rapid professionalization of armed groups, which are increasingly well-organized and equipped with heavy weaponry.”

According to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission and the World Health Organization (WHO) since mid-April, more than 1,543 people have been killed in the east, including civilians, the military and members of the armed groups. Some 4,396 have been confirmed wounded but the real number is likely to be much higher.

Media accounts say a large Russian aid convoy is headed toward a border crossing controlled by armed groups in Luhansk.

Kiev has threatened to block the convoy if the cargo is not be inspected, and announced that it plans to send its own humanitarian aid shipment.

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