The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
The Secretary-General is seriously alarmed by the recent escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine, which has reportedly resulted in the death of civilians on both sides of the contact line. Aware of reports of harassment aimed at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, he expects all parties to fully respect the OSCE's role, personnel and facilities.
The Secretary-General calls on all sides to continue with dialogue and to fully abide by the spirit and letter of the Minsk agreements, including as related to the use of heavy weapons. Continued ceasefire violations and the resulting loss of life are unacceptable. He also calls on all sides to take urgent steps to de-escalate the current situation and prevent a spiral of violence that will lead to more deaths, human suffering and destruction of infrastructure and negatively affect regional stability.
The Secretary-General also appeals to all sides to provide unrestricted and unconditional access for critical humanitarian assistance, and freedom of movement for civilians throughout the country, in order to address a deteriorating humanitarian situation.
The United Nations reiterates its support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.