Ukraine

In phone call, Ban and Ukraine President discuss peace efforts amid ongoing conflict

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A hospital in Sloviansk, Ukraine, which was destroyed by shelling. © Photo: UNICEF Ukraine/Pavel Zmey

21 April 2015 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has spoken with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko about the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine and continuing international efforts to mediate a peace in the war-torn region, a United Nations spokesperson has confirmed.

In a phone call yesterday, the two leaders discussed and agreed on the need for the full implementation of the so-called Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which aims to broker an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

Moreover, the Secretary-General also stressed the “urgent need for traction” on the political elements of these agreements for the betterment of the humanitarian situation on the ground. Meanwhile, regarding the possible creation of an international peacekeeping mission under a UN mandate, Mr. Ban reiterated that this would be a matter for the Security Council to decide.

The UN Human Rights Office and the World Health Organization estimate that since April 2014, at least 6,116 people, both military personnel and civilians, have been killed and 15,474 wounded. The actual number of casualties could be considerably higher, as hundreds remain missing and hundreds of bodies are still pending recovery.

At the same time, reports suggest that fighting has intensified, especially in the vicinity of the Donetsk airport and near the village of Shyrokine in the Donetsk region, where heavy weapons, including mortars, artillery and tanks are reportedly extensively used – running counter to the Minsk Accords.

According to a read-out of the Secretary-General’s phone call with Mr. Poroshenko, Mr. Ban underscored the UN’s support to and solidarity with the people of Ukraine at this difficult time and committed to continuing the Organization’s overall engagement in Ukraine.