UN: Ukraine not yet facing humanitarian crisis

2014-06-17 09:41
A Ukrainian soldier holds a rocket launcher as he guards a checkpoint near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk. (Sergey Bobok, AFP)

A Ukrainian soldier holds a rocket launcher as he guards a checkpoint near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk. (Sergey Bobok, AFP)

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United Nations - The situation in eastern Ukraine has worsened, but it is not yet a humanitarian crisis, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos told the Security Council on Monday, according to Western diplomats.

Amos attended the council's closed-door meeting by video conference from Geneva, at the request of Russia, which holds the rotating presidency for the month of June.

Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin, in remarks to reporters, painted a picture of a situation that "continues to deteriorate", and he denounced the "indiscriminate use of force by the Ukrainian armed forces".

He noted attacks against hospitals and said the number of refugees in Russia had, "over the past 10 days, reached 60 000".

The US, France, and Britain contested the Russian figures, Western diplomats said, while Amos estimated that just 4 600 Ukrainians have officially asked for asylum in Russia.

Amos warned that, "in the absence of a political settlement, we could face a humanitarian crisis", according to diplomats.

Churkin emphasised that Russia was going to continue its efforts to get the Security Council to adopt a resolution on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine and that Moscow had updated its proposal, originally presented at the start of June.

The draft resolution, which was very coolly received by Western countries, called for an immediate end to the violence, a sustained ceasefire and greater UN involvement in efforts to broker a solution.

The new draft takes into account some Western criticisms and "makes reference to fundamental principles of international law, such as sovereignty and territorial integrity, to attract support from all members," Churkin said.

He also said he was "disappointed" that the council did not put out a declaration condemning the recent attack against the Russian embassy in Kiev, saying text was "blocked by the Lithuanian delegation".

Read more on:    un  |  us  |  russia  |  ukraine

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