A UNHCR staff member asks a displaced Ukrainian man about the situation in his native Donetsk region, which has been heavily affected by the conflict. Photo: UNHCR/I. Zimova (file)
In a statement issued late yesterday evening by his spokesperson in New York, Mr. Ban welcomed the start of a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine as agreed on 12 February under the package of measures for implementation of the Minsk accords.
“The Secretary-General notes that the cease-fire appears to be largely holding, giving a desperately needed respite to civilians trapped in the area and contributing to a swift and peaceful resolution of the conflict,” the statement stressed.
However, it goes on to note the UN chief’s “serious concern” over reports of continued instances of hostilities including in Debaltseve and reiterates his call for all parties to abide by the cease-fire “without exception.”
“The Secretary-General reminds all of the significance of the cease-fire, which forms the basis for the broader implementation of the Minsk accords and to restore peace and stability to Ukraine,” the statement concludes.
This past Thursday, Mr. Ban commended commended the perseverance of the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, negotiating in Belarus, to bring the conflict in Ukraine to an end, resulting in the signing of a package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk accords of September 2014. The talks resulted in a ceasefire and, reportedly a peace roadmap towards ending the Ukraine conflict.
The Ukraine crisis began to deepen in late February 2014 when it evolved from an initial internal political crisis into violent clashes in parts of the country. It later reached full- scale conflict in the east. Despite an earlier Minsk cease-fire, the situation in Ukraine has since continuously deteriorated, with serious consequences for the country’s unity, territorial integrity and stability.