MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) - The Ukrainian armed forces are partially responsible for the civilian casualties caused by the ongoing military operation in the east of the country, according to the United Nations (UN) report on human rights in Ukraine published Friday.
“Responsibility for at least some of the resulting casualties and damage lies with Ukrainian armed forces through reported indiscriminate shelling,” the report said.
“During the past month, the Ukrainian armed forces have tightened their blockades around the main strongholds of the armed groups – the cities of Luhansk, Donetsk and to a lesser extent Horlivka – and the situation in these cities has further deteriorated.”
The report noted that the Ukrainian forces had intensified their arrests of people suspected of subversive or terrorist activities not only in eastern Ukraine, but in other regions as well. The Ukrainian Security Service is said to have detained more than 1,000 people in the Donbas Region as of August 16, with ill-treatment and a breach of people’s procedural rights reported.
The report said that the Ukrainian armed groups prevented residents of eastern regions from leaving by harassing them and firing at civilian vehicles. They also put the local civilian population at risk by conducting attacks from and placing their military assets in densely populated areas.
“Targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure as well as indiscriminate attacks are violations of international humanitarian law and more must be done to protect them,” the report said.
The United Nations urged to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis and avoid a large-scale humanitarian disaster that Ukraine’s eastern regions has seemed to be on the verge of since Kiev launched a military operation in mid-April.
The Ukrainian forces are fighting independence supporters in the east of the country who refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new government that came to power after a February 22 coup.
Moscow has called the operation “punitive” and called on the warring sides to halt the confrontation and cease the bloodshed. Russia has also sent a humanitarian convoy to eastern Ukraine under the auspices of the Red Cross to help the local civilian population suffering from the conflict.