In Donetsk, OSCE PA President highlights humanitarian tragedy of Ukraine conflict

2015 VISIT Ukraine Donetsk KanervaOSCE PA President Ilkka Kanerva (right) listens to an internally displaced person's story at a dormitory facility in Artemivsk, Ukraine, 12 November 2015.

DONETSK OBLAST, 12 November 2015 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) today visited a range of sites in government-controlled Donetsk oblast, Ukraine, including near the line of contact with separatist-held areas, to survey the security situation and highlight the humanitarian tragedy resulting from the conflict.

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“I came here to see for myself, and on behalf of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, some of the scars of this war – on the land and the infrastructure, on the Ukrainian state, and on people’s lives. When you meet with internally displaced people and the officials and aid workers trying to help desperate men, women and children, then geopolitics seems totally irrelevant. The need to reach a diplomatic resolution to this conflict takes on a different kind of urgency,” President Kanerva said.

In the city of Artemivsk, the President met with a group of internally displaced people (IDPs) at a dormitory facility and held a town-hall-style meeting with several hundred students who have been resettled from a university in separatist-occupied Horlivka.

He met with local officials in Artemivsk before traveling to Kramatorsk for discussions with the deputy head of the Donetsk Regional State Administration, Yevhen Vilinsky. He also met with local civil society and United Nations aid workers in Kramatorsk. Issues of discussion during the meetings included the scope of the IDP crisis; the demographics and needs of the people affected; existing and planned efforts to provide services; and the lengthy procedures for crossing between government- and separatist-held areas.

The President applauded the determined efforts of the authorities, civil society and international organizations to address the humanitarian situation and called for expansion and improved administration of their initiatives.

2015 VISIT Ukraine Donetsk Kanerva GerasymovPresident Kanerva (left) and Ukrainian Delegation Head Gerasymov view a destroyed bridge near Slovyansk.

“Ukraine has a major task on its hands to provide for its most vulnerable people in a time of conflict, but I am also concerned about the acute needs of people living under the illegal separatists. I call on the separatists and those who can influence them to allow all humanitarian aid and aid organizations to enter the areas they control. I hope that this goal will also be a focus of future meetings of the Normandy format,” President Kanerva said.

During the security-related portion of his visit, the President traveled to the Zaitseve checkpoint area on the road to separatist-held Horlivka, where he spoke with personnel and observed crossing procedures. He continued to the Zaitseve Humanitarian Logistics Center in the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) area, several kilometers from the separatist-held area of Donetsk oblast.

President Kanerva also met with Major-General Borys Kremenetsky, the head of the Ukrainian side of the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC), to discuss the status of the ceasefire and the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. He further visited the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission hub in Kramatorsk for consultations with monitors.

The President also surveyed the damage in the Slovyansk area, the site of intense fighting between Ukrainian forces and illegal separatists in the spring and summer of 2014.

He was accompanied in Donetsk by Artur Gerasymov, the Head of the Ukrainian Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and by OSCE PA Secretary General-elect Roberto Montella.

The President’s trip to eastern Ukraine followed high-level meetings in Kyiv on 11 November.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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