U.S. urges Russia to stop attacks on Ukrainian towns, agree to robust UN peacekeepers
The United States has called on the Russian Federation to agree to the deployment of a robust UN peacekeeping mission in Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
"There are continued attacks against civilian infrastructure projects in Donetsk. It's sad that we have to address this once again. The situation in Ukraine, unfortunately, is not getting any better and so we're talking about it once again," spokesperson for the U.S. Department Heather Nauert told a briefing in Washington December 13, 2017.
"The United States continues to be deeply concerned by the escalating violence and the worsening humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine. Back in November, we expressed concern about shelling near a vital water filtration plant in Donetsk. The plant remains under threat, and now a nearby coke factory has also taken fire by Russian-led forces. Coke factories assist in fuel production, energy production, as I understand it. We talked about that back in November," she said.
Read alsoU.S. Ambassador reminds Russians of Ukrainian CrimeaAccording to Nauert, together, the filtration plant and this coke factory help provide drinking water, electricity, and central heating to approximately 345,000 people.
"Threatening water supplies and also home heating in the dead of winter is simply unconscionable. Russian-led forces should immediately withdraw from their new positions surrounding the water treatment plant. We again call on Russia to stop artillery and rocket attacks against Ukrainian civilian areas and to honor the ceasefire called for in the Minsk agreements," she said.
Read alsoKremlin talks of disagreements, lack of consensus on peacekeepers in Donbas"The humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine is one of the – is the worst it has been now in three years and it is deteriorating. More than 1 million people in Donbas region are food insecure, civilian casualties are up significantly over last year. We call on Russia to take immediate steps to resolve the humanitarian crisis by withdrawing its forces and agreeing to a robust UN peacekeeping mission. We also call on the Ukrainians to do more to alleviate the suffering and protect civilian populations and critical infrastructure," Nauert stressed.
Read alsoRussia sanctions not to be lifted until Ukraine’s territorial integrity restored – Tillerson"The United States remains committed to securing a lasting peace in eastern Ukraine through the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. However, as the Secretary said in Vienna last week, quote, 'We should be clear about the source of this violence. Russia is arming, training, leading, and fighting alongside anti-government forces.' The decision to end the violence in eastern Ukraine and secure better relations with the United States and the international community lies squarely with Russia," she added.