MOSCOW, June 3 (RIA Novosti) - Protection of children in the areas of military operations in eastern Ukraine is a first-priority mission for the warring parties, Mikhail Fedotov, Chairman of Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council (HRC) Mikhail Fedotov said Tuesday.
«Protection of children is a bounden duty of the warring parties. The Council urged to cease military confrontation and sit at the negotiation table on May 5. It is impossible to come to an agreement in Kalashnikov rifle language,” he said.
Seven children were injured during the armed clashes in the east of Ukraine, the United Nations Children's Fund working for children's rights and protection UNICEF reported Tuesday.
The HRC Chairman noted that such international humanitarian organizations as UNICEF and International Committee of Red Cross should also be concerned with saving the children in the battle zones.
Fedotov recalled that human rights activists also called on OSCE, Ukrainian authorities and the rebels to help create humanitarian corridor in Ukraine.
“Such humanitarian corridor operated on occasional basis, primarily by the initiative of the Council’s member Elizabeth Glinka - Dr. Lisa. Other members of the Council, in particular Maxim Shevchenko and Andrey Yurov, help her to establish the necessary contacts in every possible way. We specifically do not disclose the details of the this corridor’s organizing, so that this thin thread would not break," said Fedotov, adding that on May 5 the Council expressed concerns that Ukraine was on the verge of humanitarian crisis, and now “we see that those warnings were absolutely justified.”
The Head of the HRC also stressed that Russia should be ready to welcome refugees from southeastern Ukraine and that according to the Council’s data, couple of weeks ago they numbered more than 3,000 people.
Mass anti-government protests began in the southeastern regions of Ukraine in the end of February 2014 as a response of local residents to the military coup in Ukraine followed by an attempt of new authorities to abolish the law that insured the regional status of Russian language in those areas.
The Luhansk and Donetsk people’s republics declared themselves independent states, which were not recognized by the interim Kiev government. As a result a special operation was launched by Ukraine’s government to crack down on independence supporters.
On Monday, Ukrainian military stroke Luhansk from the air twice. The first shot was at the administration building in the center of the city. The second airstrike went into a roadblock by Luhansk. According to Luhansk officials, cluster bombs banned by the international convention were used in the attack.
At the same time, a fight between independence supporters and the border patrol lasted all day on Monday.
A total of 13 people were reported dead as a result of the airstrike and the border fight. Eight members of the Ukrainian special forces were injured, according to the national State Border Guard Service.
Moscow has repeatedly condemned the new Kiev authorities for what it called "a punitive operation" and stressed the need for de-escalation of the Ukrainian crisis.