Members of the UN Security Council gathered on a session initiated by Ukraine, to discuss the current humanitarian and security conditions in the embattled town of Avdiivka, Donetsk region. The session took place in New York on Thursday, February 2.
Those who held speeches on this topic – except Russia – mostly condemned what is going on now in the town, urging the parties to the conflict to cease fire in the inhabited area. Diplomats had the following things to say.
Volodymyr Yelchenko, Ukraine
Before the briefing, we got a word that the separatist forces continued shelling the residential blocks in Avdiivka, using the large-caliber artillery. A number of living houses took damage all over the town. One of the shells exploded near the temporary heating station, installed by the local authorities to keep the warmth in houses under current freezing temperatures.
People had to leave their apartments and stay outside due to an artillery strike – and it was minus 20 degrees by Celsius. That’s beyond the edge of evil.
Death of every soldier is another scar on the soul of Ukraine. This 26-year-old officer was killed near Avdiivka. Look into his eyes!
Jeffrey Feltman, UN Under-Secretary General
The parties should abstain from any actions that could be defined as provocations, which could lead to escalation of tensions. The military actions in the areas of Avdiivka, Yasynuvata and Donetsk airport became more intensive. Yesterday’s statements in Minsk offer measures to avoid another breach of the ceasefire mode. The conflict grows more and more difficult to solve, day by day. There is no military solution for the hostilities in Donbas.
Stephen O’Brien, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator
On January 31, Ukraine turned to international organizations, asking to support the civilians evacuated from Avdiivka. If that is necessary, the UN and the international organizations are ready to cooperate.
Nikki Haley, the USA
The outbreak of military actions in this part of Ukraine, human casualties, damage to the infrastructure… the crisis grows. This escalation of violence needs to be stopped. The U.S. stays with the people of Ukraine, who have been suffering Russian occupation and military intervention for almost three years. The United States still condemns and demands to stop the Russian occupation of Crimea. Crimea is the part of Ukraine. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns Ukraine control over the peninsula.
Francois Delattre, France
We urge Russia to exert pressure on the separatists. We call on all parties to the conflict to support the decisions of Minks trilateral group and restore the ceasefire mode. It is essential that OSCE SMM observers are allowed visiting Avdiivka and other embattled areas. Adhering to Minsk agreements is the only way to solve the situation in Donbas.
Matthew Rycroft, the United Kingdom
Russia’s words do not match their actions. We need Russia to fulfill Minsk agreements. Russia should stop supplying weapons to separatists and to withdraw their troops from the Ukrainian territory, including Crimea, the illegal annexation of which we cannot confirm. Sanctions cannot be lifted from Russia until that happens.
As 112 International reported earlier, Ukraine took over the UN Secuirity Council on February 1, 2017, and will be chairing the Council until March 1.
The continuous outbreak of violence in Avdiivka keeps on claiming lives of both Ukrainian soldiers and militants; even civilians found themselves under extremely strong artillery fire – they get wounded and killed, too. The state of emergency was declared on January 31 in Avdiivka; people face humanitarian crisis due to heavy shelling that critically damaged infrastructure objects, cutting civilians from electricity, water supplies and heating systems. Rescue teams, local authorities, volunteers and law enforcement agencies deliver the civilians food, water, warm clothes, medicines and other items of first necessity.