In Ukraine

Published on UN News Center, Feb 17, 2017

As the volatile conflict in eastern Ukraine enters its fourth year, one million children are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance – nearly double the number this time last year, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported today.

A child emerges from a bomb shelter in Toretsk in Kyiv-controlled part of Donetsk region on Feb 13, 2017 (Pavel Zmey, UNICEF)

“This is an invisible emergency – a crisis most of the world has forgotten,” said UNICEF’s Representative in Ukraine, Giovanna Barberis, in a news release. “Children in eastern Ukraine have been living under the constant threat of unpredictable fighting and shelling for the past three years. Their schools have been destroyed, they have been forced from their homes and their access to basic commodities like heat and water has been cut off,” she stated.

The release attributed the increase – an additional 420,000 girls and boys – to the continued fighting and the steady deterioration of life in eastern Ukraine, where some 1.7 million people have been internally displaced, and many families have lost their incomes, social benefits and access to healthcare, while the price of living has sharply risen.

Hundreds of daily ceasefire violations put children’s physical safety and psychological well-being at risk. The situation is particularly grave for the approximately 200,000 girls and boys living within 15 kilometres on each side of the ‘contact line’ in eastern Ukraine, a line which divides government and non-government controlled areas where fighting is most severe. In this zone, 19,000 children face constant danger from landmines and other unexploded ordinance and 12,000 children live in communities shelled at least once a month. Thousands of children are regularly forced to take refuge in improvised bomb shelters.

Teachers, psychologists and parents report signs of severe psychosocial distress among children including nightmares, aggression, social withdrawal and panic triggered by loud noises. More than 740 schools – one in five in eastern Ukraine – have been damaged or destroyed.

UNICEF once again calls for all sides to immediately recommit to the ceasefire signed in Minsk in August 2015 and to respect international humanitarian law, including allowing unrestricted humanitarian access.

UNICEF is appealing for $31.3 million to provide health and nutrition support, education, clean water, hygiene and sanitation as well as protection for children and families affected by the conflict. So far, about 10 per cent of the appeal has been funded.

Note by New Cold War.org:
The Minsk-2 ceasefire accord of February 2015 (text here) requires that heavy armaments be withdrawn 50 km away from either side of the ‘contact line’ running through the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk. Clause Two of the accord reads:

2. Pull-out of all heavy weapons by both sides to equal distance with the aim of creation of a security zone on minimum 50 kilometres (31 mi) apart for artillery of 100mm calibre or more, and a security zone of 70 kilometres (43 mi) for multiple rocket launchers (MRLS) and 140 kilometres (87 mi) for MLRS Tornado-S, Uragan, Smerch, and Tochka U tactical missile systems:

  • for Ukrainian troops, from actual line of contact;
  • for armed formations of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, from the contact line in accordance with the Minsk Memorandum as of 19 September 2014

The pullout of the above-mentioned heavy weapons must start no later than the second day after the start of the ceasefire and finish within 14 days. This process will be assisted by OSCE with the support of the Trilateral Contact Group.

Ukrainian forces have consistently violated this clause of the agreement.  A further issue is ‘Why are Ukrainian armed forces present in the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in the first place?’

UNICEF effectively provides cover for Ukraine’s military actions when it states in the above declaration, “UNICEF once again calls for all sides to immediately recommit to the ceasefire signed in Minsk…”? Why does UNICEF blame with equal vigour the perpetrators and the victims of Ukraine’s offensive actions?

*****

EDITOR’S NOTE: We remind our readers that publication of articles on our site does not mean that we agree with what is written. Our policy is to publish anything which we consider of interest, so as to assist our readers in forming their opinions. Sometimes we even publish articles with which we totally disagree, since we believe it is important for our readers to be informed on as wide a spectrum of views as possible.

Recent Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Start typing and press Enter to search

Translate »