Ukraine, 7 July 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today strongly condemned the “continued, unlawful” acts of armed fighters in Ukraine after reports that they are regrouping in eastern provinces, and urged Ukrainian authorities to exercise maximum restraint and protect civilians.
According to media reports, armed groups have regrouped in Donetsk and Lugansk, from which more and more residents have fled and others are trapped in zones of heavy fighting.
On 30 June, an extended ceasefire that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had put in place ended, resulting in Ukrainian forces to engage in what Mr. Ban termed “intensified military activity.”
Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said the UN chief also underscored the importance of a “renewed and lasting cease-fire upheld by all parties” and a political solution to the ongoing crisis.
“The continuation of a political and diplomatic process towards a definitive cessation of violence and a peaceful resolution of the crisis is critical,” he said.
Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, last week warned against “utterly reprehensible” incitement to violence targeting women and underage girls, and destruction of civilian infrastructure.
She said that in the past week, her team had received numerous alarming reports of deaths in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, including the killing of a five-year-old girl, due to the intensified security operations.
Ms. Pillay said she was particularly disturbed by a message on the website of one leader of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic,” stating that underage children and women are legitimate targets and that the goal is to ‘immerse them in horror.’