The Secretary-General remains gravely concerned over the situation in eastern Ukraine, particularly the plight of civilians trapped without basic services in the city of Debaltseve. The rebel offensive continues and civilians are dying on a daily basis. He condemns in the strongest terms reports of indiscriminate shelling and calls on both sides to immediately move their military positions away from densely populated civilian areas.
The Secretary-General stands with others in the international community in support of the proposal by the Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for a temporary truce that would allow for the immediate evacuation of civilians from Debaltseve. He notes that this proposal can only gain ground through good-faith negotiation.
The Secretary-General reiterates his call for a sustainable cease-fire to take hold and for urgent diplomatic and political action. The signatories of the Minsk accords and the entire international community need to assume their responsibilities to ensure that this conflict ends. The United Nations stands ready to continue to support the consolidation of a sustainable and lasting peace process.