Ukraine situation remains deeply worrying, UN Security Council told

NEW YORK: While there have been several steps recently to help de-escalate tensions in Ukraine, including a ceasefire that seems to be holding and the start of peace talks, the situation on the ground remains deeply worrying, senior United Nations officials have reported to the Security Council.

“There are encouraging signs towards de-escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, and political and diplomatic steps are beginning to emerge towards the resolution of the crisis,” Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Taye-Brook Zerihoun, said in his briefing.

He said this is due in large part to the unrelenting efforts of the international community, and the initiatives taken by the Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, since his inauguration on 7th June, to find a peaceful, lasting resolution to the crisis.

Zerihoun highlighted the recent peace plan for eastern Ukraine put forward by the President, which included de-escalatory measures such as amnesty for those who did not participate in serious crimes , disarmament, decentralisation of power and early local and parliamentary elections and a programme for creation of jobs in the region.

“While these are important steps, with the potential to de-escalate the situation, the Secretary-General remains deeply concerned that the realities on the ground are still grave and deeply worrying,” he stated.

Ivan Simonovic, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, told the Council that the peace plan and ceasefire are positive steps in the right direction. “This creates a window of opportunity for human rights and humanitarian confidence-building measures.” He recalled the recently released third monthly report of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, which highlighted the rapidly deteriorating situation in the eastern part of the country during the period from 7th May to 7th June. “However, the situation has deteriorated even further, since the cut-off date of the report,” he stated.