Home / World

Russia, UN call for humanitarian corridors in Ukraine conflict

By Agencies in United Nations and Berlin | China Daily | Updated: 2014-08-07 07:00

During an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday, Russia and the UN called for humanitarian aid corridors to be established in conflict-scarred eastern Ukraine.

However, the Ukrainian envoy disagreed with the Russian ambassador, describing the situation as "manageable" and saying there is "no humanitarian crisis in Ukraine." He also accused Moscow of prolonging the unrest by supporting armed insurgents.

John Ging, operations chief for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, painted a grim picture of the situation while briefing the 15 council members, saying nearly 4 million people in the region were directly affected by the violence, with casualties on the rise and 1,000 people leaving the region daily.

He said 1,367 civilians and combatants have been killed in the contested regions and more than 4,000 wounded in fighting since mid-April.

The UN said that of the 117,910 people registered as internally displaced people throughout Ukraine, 87 percent were from the east. There were 168,677 Ukrainians registered as having crossed into Russia: 60,000 of those applying for refugee status, and another 115,952 applied for other ways of staying legally in Russia.

"However, this is not the full picture as many Ukrainians who have fled their homes do not register with Ukrainian authorities or officially apply for assistance," said Ging.

"We call on the Ukrainian government to address some of the key challenges to implementation of relief activities," he said. "A unified system for IDPs is crucial to enable comprehensive analysis and understanding of the existing needs."

Suggesting that humanitarian assistance be exempted from Ukrainian taxes, he also called for more efficient entry into Ukraine for humanitarian workers, as well as easier transfer of medical supplies certified by the World Health Organization into the region.

"We call on all sides to this conflict to enable free and safe movement of the population while at the same time ensuring full access by humanitarian organizations to affected populations remaining behind," he said.

Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia said there is "indiscriminate shelling of housing blocs and critical civilian infrastructure" in eastern Ukraine.

Shells fired by Ukrainian armed forces "continue to fall into Russia", he said. "There were about 20 such cases on Aug 3."

"There's a critical health and epidemiological situation in Lugansk. There's no electricity going to houses. There's no water either because of shelling. There's no clean water. There's a lack of telephone communications, and even waste is not being cleaned up. ... Ukrainians have begun to leave the country en masse," Churkin said.

"Our country stands ready to undertake this great burden and does not need material assistance from outside," he continued. "We stand ready to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians on our own."

But, he said, the situation was different in the Ukrainian capital.

The Moscow envoy said: "We've made multiple appeals to them for humanitarian corridors to evacuate children and the vulnerable, including child orphans and also sending humanitarian assistance from Russia, but Kiev has refused all these offers scornfully.

"Russia calls on the international community to take emergency measures to improve the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine.

"We'd like to send a convoy with Russian humanitarian assistance ... with the accompaniment of the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) to ... where IDPs are concentrated in the east.

"We stand ready to act with optimal transparency. Let the international committee monitor the convoys, their transport routes (and) distribution of aid."

In a separate development, the German Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Russia must avoid any action that could result in a the Ukraine crisis escalating further.

"We demand the greatest possible transparency, and we call on Russia to refrain from taking any steps that lead to a further escalation - that could be a combination of military exercises and troop concentrations," a ministry spokeswoman said.

(China Daily 08/07/2014 page12)

Today's Top News

Editor's picks

Most Viewed

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349