Presseerklärung von Amnesty International (19.1.2015)
Eastern Ukraine: Civilians dying and in grave danger as fighting escalates
An escalation in hostilities in eastern Ukraine since yesterday has resulted in the deaths of numerous civilians, including children, with many more lives in grave danger, Amnesty International said as it renewed its calls on both sides to protect civilians amid the fighting.
“The use of heavily populated areas for launching attacks by pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk and Horlivka and the return of fire into these areas by pro-Kyiv forces is putting civilian lives in great danger,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International.
“Pro-Russian separatist forces must stop using densely populated areas for launching military operations and Kyiv-controlled forces must not launch indiscriminate attacks which put civilian lives at risk. These are violations of the laws of war for which civilians are paying with their lives.”
On 18 January, Ukrainian armed forces received orders to open heavy fire on pro-Russian separatist positions in eastern Ukraine in a push to retake full control of the contested Donetsk airport and surrounding areas. This followed an earlier ultimatum issued to them by the pro-Russian forces to leave the airport and their subsequent full-scale offensive against the Ukrainian forces’ positions there.
Videos posted on the internet by users in Donetsk show separatist forces launching volleys from “Grad” multiple launch rocket systems based inside residential areas in the city on the morning of 18 January.
Residents in pro-Russian separatist controlled Horlivka, 40 km north-east of Donetsk, told Amnesty International of similar cases of rockets being fired from the town centre. Shortly after one such instance on 18 January, artillery fire was returned by pro-Kyiv forces, killing at least two civilians.
According to a high-ranking local official, two brothers, aged seven and 16, were killed on 18 January after their house was hit directly in Vuhlehirsk, a town some 60 km north-east of Donetsk which is controlled by pro-Kyiv forces. A girl, aged eight, was wounded in the same attack and her leg was later amputated in the hospital.
Three people, including a father and his teenage son, died this morning (19 January) in Ukrainian-controlled Debaltseve, a key rail hub, after shelling by pro-Russian separatist forces. A total of 10 people were injured in the attack.
The escalation in fighting follows an artillery strike on a bus that killed 12 civilians and wounded 16 near Volnovakha on 13 January.
“The tragic artillery strike in Volnovakha serves as a grisly reminder of the price paid by the civilian population when the rules of international humanitarian law are disregarded during military operations. While the available evidence strongly suggests that the separatists fired the rocket which killed the bus passengers in Volnovakha, neither side is always doing what is required to protect civilians, which time and again leads to their deaths,” said Denis Krivosheev.
The use of populated areas for staging military operations and the use of imprecise explosive weapons in civilian neighbourhoods repeats a pattern seen by Amnesty International during research missions to eastern Ukraine in September, October and December 2014.
Amnesty International reiterates its call to urgently investigate all incidents involving civilian deaths as they could amount to violations of international humanitarian law (IHL). IHL prohibits attacks that target civilians and civilian structures, as well as attacks in civilian areas that cannot be directed at a specific military objective. Both sides in the conflict have violated the prohibition by relying on unguided mortars and rockets that cannot be aimed with any precision in highly populated civilian areas.
By basing troops, weaponry and other military targets in residential areas, separatists and Ukrainian government forces have failed to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians, endangering civilians in violation of the laws of war.
A nominal ceasefire was agreed in eastern Ukraine in September 2014, but upwards of 1,400 people, including many civilians, have been killed since then as both sides increasingly engage in tit-for-tat reprisals. In all, almost 5,000 people have died since the conflict broke out last year.
Stellungnahme des Präsidenten der Donezker Volksrepublik (23.1.2015)
(inoffizielle Übersetzung der Meldung der Zentralen Nachrichtenagentur Neurusslands, Novorus)
Sachartschenko über seine Angriffspläne und den Ausschluss von Waffenstillstandsverhandlungen mit Kiew
Der Vorsitzende der Donezker Volksrepublik, Alexander Sachartschenko, hat heute eine Erklärung abgegeben, der gemäß die DNR künftig keine Versuche mehr unternehmen wird mit Kiew über irgendwelche Formen eines Waffenstillstands zu reden.
Nach den Worten von Alexander Sachartschenko besitzen die Versuche mit den Kiewer Machthabern einen Waffenstillstand zu vereinbaren keinen Sinn, wie die bisherige Praxis gezeigt hat. Jedwede Vereinbarungen werden von den ukrainischen Strafeinheiten sowieso verletzt, was zu neuen Opfern unter der Zivilbevölkerung führt.
Der Vorsitzende der DNR wird von [der russischen Nachrichtenagentur] RIA Novosti zitiert: Versuche über einen Waffenstillstand zu reden wird es von unserer Seite nicht mehr geben. Wir werden jetzt schauen, wie Kiew reagieren wird. Kiew versteht derzeit nicht, dass wir aus drei Richtungen gleichzeitig angreifen können.
Dabei erklärte Alexander Sachartschenko, dass Konsultationen nur zu Fragen eines Gefangenenaustausches geführt werden können.
Sachartschenko: Es wird Gefangenenaustausch geben, weil unsere Jungs, die sich in Gefangenschaft befinden – die müssen herausgeholt werden.
Der Vorsitzende der Donezker Volksrepublik erklärte, dass der Angriff bis über die Grenzen der Region Donezk hinausgehen wird: Wir greifen Awdeew, Otscheretino an. Die Lugansker Volksrepublik wird ebenfalls angreifen. Wir werden bis zu den Grenzen der Region Donezk vorrücken, aber falls ich eine Bedrohung sehen werde, auch aus anderen Richtungen, werden wir sie beseitigen.
Quelle: Novorus (Zentrale Nachrichtenagentur Neurusslands), <http://novorus.info/news/policy/32690-zaharchenko-obyavil-o-pla nah-nastupleniya-i-o-tom-chto-peregovory-o-peremirii-s-kievom-isklyucheny.html>
Bericht der Speziellen Beobachtermission der OSZE zum 23.1.2015 (Auszug)
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 23 January 2015
At the JCCC headquarters in government-controlled Debaltseve (55 km north-east of Donetsk) the Ukrainian Major-General, Head of the Ukrainian side to the JCCC, was present together with his officers. Officers of the Russian Federation Armed Forces were absent as they are currently in Soledar (77 km north of Donetsk, government-controlled), with “DPR” and “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) members. […] He also said that the most problematic areas in terms of security are Shchastiya (132 km north-east of Donetsk, government-controlled), Vesela Hora (131 km north-east of Donetsk, “LPR”-controlled), and Krymske (108 km north-east of Donetsk, government-controlled). According to the Major-General, intense fighting had also taken place in the area between the Donetsk airport and Avdiivka (14 km north-west of Donetsk, government-controlled).
Bericht der Speziellen Beobachtermission der OSZE zum Angriff auf Mariupol (24.1.2015)
Spot report by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM)
MARIUPOL 24 January 2015
At approximately 09:15hrs on 24 January, the SMM in government-controlled Mariupol heard at its location incoming massed Multi-Launch Rocket System (MLRS) attacks from a north-east direction, consisting of an extremely heavy barrage lasting 35 seconds. Twenty minutes later the SMM received information from the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) in Mariupol and other sources, that shelling had occurred in the area of Olimpiiska Street, in Ordzhonikidzevskyi district, 8.5 km north-east of Mariupol city centre, approximately 400 metres from a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint.
At 10:20hrs the SMM went to Olimpiiska Street and saw seven adult civilians dead. The SMM observed in an area of 1.6 km by 1.1 km, including an open market, multiple impacts on buildings, retail shops, homes and a school. The SMM observed cars on fire and windows facing the north-eastern side of a nine-storey building shattered. The SMM was able to count 19 rocket strikes and is certain there are more. Four hospitals and the emergency service in the city informed the SMM that at least 20 people died and 75 people were injured and hospitalized. Ten of the wounded were in a critical condition, according to a hospital representative.
The SMM conducted a crater analysis and its initial assessment showed that the impacts were caused by Grad and Uragan rockets. According to the impact analysis, the Grad rockets originated from a north-easterly direction, in the area of Oktyabr (19 km north-east of Olimpiiska Street), and the Uragan rockets from an easterly direction, in the area of Zaichenko (15 km east of Olimpiiska Street), both controlled by the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”).
At 13:02hrs and 13:21hrs the SMM heard again incoming MLRS salvos lasting for eight seconds, from an easterly direction. At a distance of 300 metres the SMM saw smoke above the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ checkpoint number 14 (8.9 km north-east of Mariupol city centre), just several hundred metres away from where the shelling had hit in Olimpiiska Street.
Stellungnahme der Trilateralen Kontaktgruppe, die die Minsker Friedensverhandlungen koordiniert (24.1.2015)
Statement by the Trilateral Contact Group
KYIV 24 January 2015
The Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), consisting of senior representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, convened an urgent meeting in Kyiv on 24 January 2015.
The TCG discussed the rising tension in eastern Ukraine and condemned the intensification of violence there, especially in the vicinity of the city of Mariupol, which has already caused numerous casualties among civilian population. Such violence constitutes a clear violation of the letter and spirit of the Minsk Protocol and the Minsk Memorandum of 5 and 19 September respectively.
The TCG urges that the ongoing hostilities in eastern Ukraine should be stopped immediately and all signatories of the Minsk documents meet for direct talks as soon as possible, at the latest by the beginning of next week.
The TCG stands ready for such a meeting with all signatories of the Minsk documents at any time.
Quelle: Website der Organisation für Sicherheit und Zusammenarbeit in Europa, <http://www.osce.org/cio/136036>