December 22, 2017

United Nations says fighting fuels ‘dire’ situation in eastern Ukraine


The United Nations says daily ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine have led to more civilian deaths and “further aggravated a dire human rights and humanitarian situation” as temperatures drop.

In a report published on December 12, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said that increased fighting between government forces and Russia-backed separatists resulted in at least 15 deaths and 72 injuries among civilians from August 16 to November 15.

In total, at least 2,818 civilians have been killed, and up to 9,000 others injured since the start of the conflict in April 2014. The death toll includes the 298 passengers and crew aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), which was shot down over eastern Ukraine in July 2014 by a missile system that a Dutch-led investigation found had been brought into separatist-held territory from Russia and returned to Russia afterwards.

The OCHCR recorded 10,303 conflict-related deaths between April 14, 2014, and November 15, 2017, the report said. In June, that figure was 10,090, including 2,777 civilians.

“The hostilities have never really stopped, affecting, in one way or another, the daily lives of millions in the conflict zone and in the country as whole,” Fiona Frazer, the head of the U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, said in a statement accompanying the report.

Based on interviews with witnesses and victims of human rights violations, the report details 20 cases of killings, deprivation of liberty, enforced disappearances, torture and conflict-related sexual violence committed on both sides of the contact line.

The report cautioned about the situation of people who are detained incommunicado in the separatist-held areas in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

It said that the monitoring mission continued to be denied access to detainees, raising serious concerns about detention conditions and possible further human rights abuses.

In territory controlled by armed groups, the report said, “arbitrary detentions and ‘prosecutions’ were compounded by the lack of recourse to effective remedy.”

The article above is reprinted from Eurasia Daily Monitor with permission from its publisher, the Jamestown Foundation, (for the full text of the story, see