Verkhovna Rada Speaker Andriyi Parubiy. Archival photo
Article by: Andriy Parubiy
Andriy Parubiy, the speaker of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (Parliament), and a group of Ukrainian deputies have sent an open letter to the parliaments of member states of the European Union, the USA, Canada, Japan and the European Parliament asking them to call on Russia to stop the deterioration of the situation in the Donbas.
The letter was posted in Andriy Parubiy’s Facebook:
Due to the worsening situation in the Donbas and the constant attempts by the Russian occupying forces to expand their offensive in Avdiivka, I, together with Hanna Hopko, Iryna Herashchenko, Mariya Ionova, Ihor Hryniv, and Maksym Burbak, appeal to the parliamentarians of the entire free world with this open letter.
Dear fellow parliamentarians,
We request your immediate attention and action in connection with the worsening situation in eastern Ukraine. We are forced to state that Russia, as the aggressor country, refuses to put and end to the further escalation of conflict in a part of occupied Donbas. Evidence of this is the critical situation, close to a humanitarian disaster, that has developed recently as a result of the systematic attacks by illegal armed groups near the city of Avdiivka in the Donetsk Oblast.
On January 29, 2017, illegal armed groups broke the ceasefire and launched attacks on the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the town of Avdiivka. The shelling was carried out by heavy weapons, including those prohibited by the Minsk agreements: MLRS Grad missiles, 152 mm and 122 mm cannon artillery, 82-mm and 120-mm mortars, tanks, as well as small arms. During a two-day period, 8 Ukrainian soldiers were killed by Russian weapons, and 26 were wounded. Two civilians, who were killed during the shelling of residential areas, are also among the dead.
We want to draw your special attention to the critical humanitarian situation that has developed in the city of Avdiivka through the systematic shelling by the illegal armed groups. As a result of the fighting, electrical power lines, as well as a number of vital facilities, have been damaged, leading to the disconnection of water and heat. These days the temperature in Avdiivka has dropped below -18 C. On the night of Jan. 31, a state of emergency was declared in the city.
More than 22,000 people have been left without electricity, water or heat. The evacuation of children and the disabled from Avdiivka has already begun.
Ukrainian authorities are doing everything possible to help the civilian population. They are providing people with water, additional generators, and necessities. However, under worsening weather conditions and the constant deterioration of the security situation in the Avdiivka region, the general humanitarian situation is close to catastrophic.
The destruction of the infrastructure caused by the actions of the Russian Federation is threatening the environmental safety in the Donbas and bringing about the further deterioration of conditions in the region, which, in turn, is preventing repair work.
To address the situation in Avdiivka, it is necessary to begin work on repairing the damaged vital infrastructure immediately. However, because of the continuing shelling on the part of the illegal armed groups, the utilities cannot begin necessary work and the situation in the city continues to deteriorate.
We strongly condemn such actions by the Russian Federation and appeal to our fellow parliamentarians to do everything possible to force Russia to immediately cease the shelling and the destabilization of the situation in the Donbas. Once the ceasefire is in effect, it will allow for repair work to begin in the Avdiivka region.
Furthermore, the security crisis in Avdiivka has demonstrated the need for the increased presence of international organizations that ensure the monitoring of the situation and, again, testifies to the need for the immediate deployment of armed OSCE police missions to the Donbas.
The crime committed by the Russian terrorist forces against the civilians in Avdiivka has proved once again that only tougher sanctions against the Russian Federation and the international consolidation of efforts can stop the escalation of events at the front. This is why it is important for us to jointly apply more pressure on the aggressor until there is complete peace and the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
We, the parliamentarians, are writing to you with an appeal to use all available tools of governmental and inter-parliamentary diplomacy to increase pressure on official Kremlin.
We will be grateful if the leadership of your parliaments publicly calls on the Russian authorities to strictly fulfill all international obligations and cease the deliberate aggravation of the safety and the humanitarian situation in the Donbas.
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