Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Situation in East Ukraine Remains Unstable

by Egbert Nobakon

A small, local conflict maybe, but no less brutal for people caught up in it that the bigger war going on in Syria and Iraq (Image source)

As we have said before, the ongoing conflicts around the world do not go away just because we do not report them for a while. There is still fighting in Syria, in yemen, Libya, and of course in Ukraine. We are a small site and cannot pick up on all the stories that show up on our news feeds and sometimes it is the case that while low level fighting goes on bigger evens push coverage aside.

One of the ongoing stories over the past two years has been the situation in eastern Ukraine. The area remains volatile as the forces Kiev of the Kiev government have intensified the shelling of settlements in self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics, according to Russian envoy to Contact Group on Ukraine Boris Gryzlov on Wednesday.

The Trilateral Contact Group, consisting of envoys and experts from Ukraine, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), is holding a regular meeting in Minsk aimed at facilitating a diplomatic resolution to the armed conflict in Donbas.

"It is obvious that the situation in the conflict zone remains difficult. The intensified shelling of settlements, primarily by Kiev-led forces, causes grave concern," Gryzlov told reporters.

The Russian envoy stressed that security issues must not hamper the settlement of political aspects of peace process in eastern Ukraine.

"Otherwise, the settlement process will be largely influenced by those who do not wish peace for Donbas," Gryzlov said.

The event that pushed Ukraine back to prominence in news reports was that journalists from two news agencies came under mortar fire from Ukrainian forces near the eastern Ukrainian town of Debaltsevo, on Wednesday.

"A group of journalists went to cover a news story about soldiers living in the seventh detachment of the LPR [Luhansk People's Republic] People's Militia. Later, as they moved toward the LPR positions on the contact line, at that moment they came under mortar fire and unsighted sniper fire," LPR's People's Militia headquarters said, confirming that that journalists were not injured. Southeastern Ukraine has been the focus of conflict between Kiev and ethnic Russian separatist groups since military operations against local independence supporters were launched by the Kiev authorities in April 2014.

In February this year, the warring parties signed a deal brokered by German chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President Hollande on Ukrainian reconciliation in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. However, numerous ceasefire breaches have been reported in Donbas since the Minsk peace deal was signed.


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