The top United Nations political official today voiced the Organization’s “unwavering commitment” in helping Ukraine address the range of political, humanitarian, security and development challenges it continues to face amid ongoing fighting in the country’s east.
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman’s words of support came during his visit to the Eastern European country in which he met with both Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Mr. Feltman’s trip was also marked by meetings with the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, Volodymyr Groysman, as well as a presentation to the Government of the findings of the Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessment.
In late February 2014, the situation in Ukraine transcended what was initially seen as an internal Ukrainian political crisis into violent clashes in parts of the country, later reaching full- scale conflict in the east. A cease-fire and peace plan for eastern Ukraine was signed in the Belarussian capital of Minsk on 5 September, but remains fragile. The situation has since continuously deteriorated, with serious consequences for the country’s unity, territorial integrity and stability.
In all his meetings, Mr. Feltman reiterated the need for a comprehensive political solution to the conflict in south-eastern Ukraine, in line with the Minsk process and President Poroshenko’s peace plan. In addition, while congratulating Ukrainian officials on the formation of a unity government, the UN official noted the importance of proceeding with the comprehensive reforms announced by the Government.
The latest figures from the UN human rights office, OHCHR, and the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO), paint a stark picture of the reality on the ground for millions of people living in the regions directly affected by the conflict, such as Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk, where hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) remain trapped.
From mid-April to 12 December, at least 4,707 people were killed and 10,322 wounded by fighting. Since the tenuous ceasefire began, at least 1,357 fatalities were recorded.
Answering questions following his end-of-year briefing at UN Headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told journalists that the “continuing, negative” situation in Ukraine had been “a source of deep concern for the whole international community.”
“I’m urging again that the parties should sit down together to abide by, fully, the letters and spirit of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum,” Mr. Ban said, explaining that the UN would also be mobilizing humanitarian assistance to deliver aid to “whoever may be in need.”