UN Report: Escalation in Ukraine

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The United Nations (UN) recently released a report drawing attention to escalating violence in Ukraine in violation of the Minsk agreement.[1] There has been a marked surge in casualties that the UN Report attributes to an influx of Russian troops and heavy artillery.[2] As the report explains, “[t]he impact of the conflict on the human rights of those living in areas affected by the fighting in the eastern regions is dramatic and frequently life threatening in areas where fighting and indiscriminate shelling take place.”[3] The report calls for “intensified efforts by all parties” to find a peaceful solution.[4] It also asks parties “to comply fully with the Minsk Agreement, and allow civilians remaining in areas affected by fighting to be evacuated on a voluntary basis.”[5]

More than 6,000 people have been killed since the fighting started in April. Between December 1, 2014 and February 15, 2015, at least 1,012 people were killed and at least 3,793 were wounded in the conflict area of eastern Ukraine.[6] It is estimated in the last month alone, 800 people were killed and 3,400 were wounded, with hundreds more missing or buried without their deaths being recorded.[7]

The European Union agreed on March 18, to renew economic sanctions on Russia.[8] The 28 member nations was divided on the issue, but ultimately agreed that sanctions will remain in place until a full implementation of the Minsk Agreement is realized.[9] Secretary of State John Kerry has categorized the Minsk Agreement as “‘a kind of cherry picking’ by the Russians about what elements of the cease-fire to honor.”[10] Meanwhile, as fighting continues to escalate in Ukraine, the United States has announced it will send armored Stryker vehicles on a 1,100-mile convoy through six European countries in a show of support for its allies and its commitment to peace in Eastern Europe.[11] The convoy is "a highly visible demonstration of U.S, commitment to its NATO allies and demonstrating NATO's ability to move military forces freely across allied borders in close cooperation," said U.S. Army Europe spokesman.[12] Since Russia has announced its own extended military exercises in response[13], it appears as if the regional conflict is only burgeoning in stature.

[1] UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine, May 15 2014, available athttp://www.refworld.org/docid/5379cf2d4.html.

[2] Id. at 25.

[3] Id. at 3.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id. at 8.

[7] Id. at 8.

[8] Adrian Croft, EU agrees Russia sanctions to stay until Ukraine peace terms met, REUTERS (Mar. 19, 2015 6:59 PM), http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/19/us-ukraine-crisis-eu-idUSKBN0MF1FF20150319.


[10] Nick Cumming-Bruce & Michael R. Gordon, Fighting in Ukraine Has Killed More Than 840 Since Mid-January, U.N. Says, NY Times, (Mar. 2 2015), available at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/03/world/europe/un-report-faults-russia-for-escalating-conflict-in-ukraine.html?_r=0.

[11] Brad Lendon, U.S. Army sending armored convoy 1,100 miles through Europe, CNN (Mar. 14, 2015 9:58 AM ET), http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/13/world/army-convoy-through-europe/index.html.

[12] Id.

[13] Steady expansion of Russian military exercises, CNN (20 Mar. 2015 2:39 PM), http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31979290.

Posted by Lauren F. Tonon on Sun. March 22, 2015 5:33 PM
Categories: European Union, Insurgency, Russia, Ukraine, United Nations
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