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First aid lorries returning from Ukraine to Russia: OSCE monitors

08/23/2014 07:15 GMT

MOSCOW, August 23, 2014 (AFP) - The first lorries from Moscow's controversial aid convoy to rebel-held parts of Ukraine began returning to Russia on Saturday, OSCE monitors said.

Paul Picard, the acting head of the mission observing the Russian border post known as Donetsk, told AFP some of the vehicles had begun passing through but could not provide a number.

Agence France-Presse:

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With humanitarian aid urgently needed, OSCE Chairperson calls upon all sides to render convoy aid a co-operative endeavor again

BERN, August 23, 2014 – Deploring that the agreement by Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the modalities of delivering the convoy aid was not implemented in good faith, Didier Burkhalter, Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, called on all parties to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from any actions which could contribute to the further escalation of the situation.

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Separatist forces in Ukraine accused of threatening mass ‘executions’

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Amnesty

The armed group calling itself the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) must not carry out 'executions', including a reported threat of killing prisoners facing life sentences, Amnesty International said today.

On Friday Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council announced that fighters from the group had seized a penitentiary institution in Donetsk and threatened to kill all prisoners facing life sentences, forcing the others to join their ranks.

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Ban urges Russia, Ukraine to exercise restraint after aid convoy crosses border

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UN News Service

22 August 2014 – Reacting to reports that a Russian aid convoy crossed the Ukrainian border without Kiev’s permission, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged all sides to continue to work together to ensure that humanitarian supplies reach those most in need.

“While recognizing the deteriorating humanitarian situation, any unilateral action has the potential of exacerbating an already dangerous situation in eastern Ukraine,” Mr. Ban said in a statement from his spokesperson.

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Finland + 1 other
Finland grants 500,000 euros for the victims of the conflict in Ukraine

By decision of Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs grants 500,000 euros in humanitarian aid for Ukraine. The aid will be delivered to its destination through UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency , which has a key role in assisting Ukrainians forced to flee their homes.

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Ukraine: Humanitarian Snapshot (as of 20 August)

preview

Situation overview

An estimated 3.9 million people live in areas directly affected by violence. Insecurity and intensification of fighting heavily affected the population residing in Donbas region, while also reducing the capacity of the local structures to respond. Fighting has caused significant damage to local infrastructure affecting access to basic life-supporting services and supplies.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.

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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 21 August 2014

Further allegations of human rights abuses emerge in Donbas

The situation remained calm in Kharkiv.

The “deputy minister of interior” of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) told the SMM that the “DPR” had found a charred body on a road a few kilometres south-east of Snizhne (Snizhne is 80 km south-east of Donetsk city). He claimed that the remains were those of a missing Russian journalist, but presented no supporting evidence.

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Ukraine + 3 others
Ukraine UNHCR External Update on the Situation of Displaced Persons, 22 August 2014

HIGHLIGHTS

  • As of 20 August, the number of IDPs is estimated to have reached 190,000.

  • IDPs from eastern Ukraine now make up 92% of the total number of displaced.

  • UNHCR is concerned by the attack on a convoy of people attempting to leave Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine.

  • UNHCR is concerned by the increasing number of casualties, OHCHR estimates that as of 13 August the death toll has increased to 2,119.

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Ukraine + 1 other
Kiev, West slam Russia's convoy 'invasion' in east Ukraine

08/22/2014 18:01 GMT

by Sergei VENYAVSKY with Maria ANTONOVA in Kiev

IZVARYNE, August 22, 2014 (AFP) - The West on Friday blasted Moscow for unilaterally sending a controversial aid convoy to east Ukraine's rebel-held Lugansk in a move Kiev decried as an "invasion".

The European Union said it "deplored" Russia's decision to order in the convoy, which local officials said had arrived in Lugansk, without consent and called on Moscow to withdraw the trucks

Agence France-Presse:

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Russia speeds up asylum procedures as Ukrainian influx continues

ST. PETERSBURG, Russian Federation, August 21 (UNHCR) – Before Ukraine's secession crisis erupted in February, the Federal Migration Service office in St. Petersburg handled 120 asylum applications a year, mainly from Asians and Africans.

Today, Ukrainians are arriving in the Russian city at a rate of 300 a day, according to the regional branch here of the Russian Red Cross, which has been working hard to provide assistance and help find shelter for those who need it.

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Darkest Hour Before Dawn in East Ukraine?

More and more towns caught up in fighting as Ukrainian forces make inroads.

By Dmitry Durnev -

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region are hoping against hope that peace will be restored, if only because they think things cannot get much worse. “The darkest hour is just before the dawn” is a phrase often recited here.

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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 20 August 2014

Fighting in and around Donetsk continues, as living conditions deteriorate for the civilian population. The SMM met internally displaced persons (IDPs) leaving Luhansk. In Chernivtsi soldiers protest against mobilization.

The police in Kharkiv told the SMM that four young soldiers, aged between 21 and 37, were arrested at the city’s central railway station. The soldiers were heading on leave from the area of conflict to their homes in Lviv, and were found travelling with weapons (grenades, Makarov pistols and other ammunition). A criminal investigation was launched.

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Ukraine + 1 other
Sweden to provide SEK 35 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine

The Government decided today to provide SEK 35 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. This will go to food, medicine, blankets, etc.

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People in Need provides aid for 496 children, who have fled fighting in the Ukraine. Further funds were released from the Club of Friends Humanitarian Fund

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People in Need

Svyatogorsk (Eastern Ukraine), 18th of August, 2014 – People in Need (PIN) has distributed baby formula and diapers to 496 children in Svyatogorsk in Eastern Ukraine. The little spa town is flooded by a daily influx of thousands of refugees from the bombarded cities of Gorlovka, Yenakievo, Donetsk and other places in the Luhansk region. They often carry just a few basic belongings and children’s nutrition or diapers are critically needed. Many of the refugees are living in schools, dormitories or former summer camps.

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Ukraine: Urgent need for aid in Lugansk

Geneva/Kiev/Moscow (ICRC) – Staff from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visited Lugansk yesterday to find water and electricity supplies cut off because of damage to essential infrastructure. People hardly leave their homes for fear of being caught in the middle of ongoing fighting, with intermittent shelling into residential areas placing civilians at risk.

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UN Humanitarian Chief, Valerie Amos, to Visit Ukraine

WHO: United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos
WHAT: Mission to Ukraine
WHEN: 21-24 August 2014
WHERE: Kyiv, eastern regions

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, will travel to Ukraine between 21 and 24 August 2014.

In Kyiv, USG Amos is scheduled to meet senior Government officials, members of the diplomatic community, civil society representatives and United Nations colleagues.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.

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Weekly update from the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk, for the period 13–19 August 2014

KAMENSK-SHAKHTINSKY, Russian Federation, 20 August 2014 - The Observer Mission (OM) reached full operational capacity and almost completed the replacement of temporary mission members. Observation at the Border Crossing-Points is conducted every day in three eight-hour shifts. Cross-border traffic flow decreased at both Border Crossing-Points, predominantly into the Russian Federation. The OM received reports from people fleeing from Ukraine about the dire situation in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 19 August 2014

Fighting in the north-eastern part of the Donetsk region and south-eastern areas of the Luhansk region continued. The SMM monitored the situation of the civilian population in Donetsk.

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Ukraine warplane shot down as clashes kill dozens

08/20/2014 19:38 GMT

by Nicolas GAUDICHET with Dmytro GORSHKOV in Kiev

DONETSK, August 20, 2014 (AFP) - A Ukrainian warplane was blown out of the sky over rebel-held territory Wednesday as fierce clashes between government troops and pro-Russian insurgents left dozens of civilians dead.

Fighting intensified as Kiev appeared to ramp up a deadly offensive to crush the ailing rebellion in the east ahead of a fresh round of diplomacy that will see the presidents of Russia and Ukraine meet next week for the first time in months.

Agence France-Presse:

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Journalists’ safety remains biggest media freedom challenge in Ukraine, says OSCE representative

VIENNA, 20 August 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today denounced recent attacks on members of the media in different regions of Ukraine.

“Violence against journalists has a chilling effect on the whole society and cannot be tolerated. Much more needs to be done to end the circle of impunity,” Mijatović said. “I call on the Ukrainian authorities to swiftly and thoroughly investigate these attacks and to do their utmost to ensure journalists’ safety.”