NEWS FROM RUSSIA
NEWS BULLETIN OF THE EMBASSY OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
RUSSIAN NEWS DIGEST
Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the development of the humanitarian situation in Ukraine
As it is known, the Russian Federation proposed the initiative to form an international humanitarian mission for the South-East of Ukraine, which is related to our concerns regarding the continuing military actions in the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions.
Despite the reached international agreements, primarily provisions of the Geneva Statement of the 17 April, the Berlin Declaration of the 2 July and other international documents, Kiev is deploying a large-scale military operation in this region using heavy artillery, armoured vehicles, Grad multi-launch missile systems, which continue to kill civilians.
According to the data of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 1367 persons have been killed and 4087 persons have been injured (of which 2589 were civilians, including 29 children) since the beginning of this operation. In total, there are about 3.9 million people in the area of the military activities. Vital infrastructure, including power supply and water supply, state and residential buildings continue to be destroyed. In some populated areas up to 80% of houses are destroyed. About 200,000 persons have no access to drinking water. In the last week, the numbers of internally displaced persons (112,000 persons according to Ukrainian data) and refugees (163,000 according to Russian Federal Migration Service data) have grown.
The most dramatic situation is in the health care area. About 70% of medical personnel were forced to evacuate to safer regions, but those who stayed are in mortal danger, because there is high risk for ambulances to be shot.
During Russia’s contacts with leaders of the UN, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration and the International Committee of the Red Cross our partners confirmed that they share our concerns about the severe humanitarian consequences of the Kiev’s military operation in the South-East of Ukraine, they perceived our initiatives generally positively and expressed their readiness to involve into the discussion of modalities of deployment of a humanitarian mission.
At the same time, despite the mentioned data of profile international bodies, the Ukrainian authorities refuse to recognise the humanitarian problems in the South-East of Ukraine, which are evident for everybody. We think that such a position, when the Kiev authorities avoid interacting to satisfy humanitarian needs of the population affected by the conflict, is absolutely irresponsible.
Russia believes that it is necessary to mobilise the international community to provide residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions immediate aid, because they are on the brink of a humanitarian disaster, and in this regard we will insistently promote our initiative to form a humanitarian mission for this region of Ukraine.
Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the growth of violence in Iraq
We are still seriously concerned about the extremely tense situation in Iraq. Militants of the Islamic State terrorist group continue to extend the area under their control in the north-west of the country. In doing this, they started a campaign of unprecedented repressions against representatives of sectarian and national minorities – Christians, Kurds, Kurds-Yazidi and Turkomans, who reside in these regions. The extremists took control of Qaraqosh, one of historical centres of the Iraq’s Christian community.
Several dozens of thousands of Yazidi were forced to leave places of their residence in the area to the north-west of Mosul being afraid of persecutions from the militants. Many of them were actually blocked in the mountain area near Sindzhar, and have no access to water, food or elementary living conditions. According to some data, about 50 persons died, including women and children.
The central government in Baghdad provides assistance to the Yazidis, who are in an extremely difficult situation. The Iraqi national air forces regularly throw humanitarian cargo into the Sindzhar mountain area. The United States announced the same measures.
The atrocities by Islamic radicals deserve the most decisive condemnation. The events in Iraq are another confirmation that terrorism is an absolute evil, and all responsible representatives of the world community must undertake coordinated efforts, excluding any double standards.
We support the actions by the Iraqi authorities in their uncompromising struggle against the terrorists. We appeal to all the Iraqi political forces to agree in the spirit of national consent, which will allow to effectively confront any manifestations of extremism and terrorism in Iraq.
Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the provision of humanitarian aid to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions
In order to provide humanitarian assistance to the residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, Russia, in coordination with Ukraine and the International Committee of the Red Cross, has dispatched humanitarian aid, including food, medicine and power generation equipment. Russia has accommodated the wishes of Ukraine regarding the convoy’s route, cargo inspection and other details of the operation.
The humanitarian mission will involve 262 vehicles, of which 198 will carry trailers loaded with supplies and power generators with a total weight of 1,809.9 tonnes.
The cargo includes: 69 power generators, 400 tonnes of assorted grains, 340 tonnes of canned meat, 30 tonnes of salt, 100 tonnes of sugar, 60 tonnes of canned milk, 0.8 tonnes of tea, 679.5 tonnes of bottled water, 62.4 tonnes of baby food, 54 tonnes of medical supplies, and 12,300 sleeping bags.
The convoy will pass through a checkpoint agreed by Russia and Ukraine – Shebekino-Pletnyovka on the border of the Belgorod (Russian Federation) and Kharkov (Ukraine) regions. After crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border, the convoy will proceed under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Russia expects full cooperation from Ukraine to ensure the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
Given the foregoing, the claims by Ukrainian officials that the convoy route has not been coordinated and new logistical requirements constantly being added by them are perplexing. We expect that the terms for delivery of humanitarian cargo previously agreed with Ukraine will be observed.
A meeting of foreign ministers from Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine
The ministers of foreign affairs from Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine held a meeting in Berlin on 17 August to discuss issues related to the international effort to assist Ukraine in settling its internal crisis. The ministers reviewed all aspects of the situation in Ukraine, with a focus on the earliest possible termination of the hostilities, border control, humanitarian aid delivery to Southeastern Ukraine, and creating the conditions for the earliest beginning of the process of political settlement.
Some progress was made on all these issues. Arrangements have been made to continue the dialogue in the same format, whereupon specific proposals can be submitted to the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine for consideration.
Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the breach of the humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza Strip
On the 19 August the Palestinian groups acting in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli Army restarted their exchange of fire. According to the mass media, the Gaza Strip launched about 50 missiles at the Israeli territory from the enclave, approximately 15 of which were intercepted by the Israeli air defence system, Iron Dome. For their part, the Israelis attacked several dozen targets in the sector, killing at least 3 and wounding 40 Palestinians.
Moscow expresses serious concerns about the new escalation of violence around Gaza in violation of the earlier reached agreements regarding the humanitarian cease-fire, which were reached during indirect Palestinian-Israeli contacts in Cairo. We appeal to the parties to renew the justified practice of observation of such humanitarian pauses in their violent confrontation and to return to the discussion of the parameters of a long-term truce based in the peace initiative proposed by Egypt immediately.
PRESS-SECTION OF THE EMBASSY OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION IN THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA