Brussels/Rome, 1 February 2017 – Following reports of heavy shelling around the Eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka, the President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Paolo Alli, called for an urgent de-escalation of violence and respect of ceasefire agreements.
I am very concerned about the latest intensification of violence in Eastern Ukraine Mr Alli stated.
The heavy shelling around Avdiivka is a blatant violation of existing ceasefire agreements which has caused considerable casualties including among the local population, and destroyed key civilian infrastructure. I strongly condemn this outrageous violence, and call for immediate de-escalation.
In a letter addressed to Mr Alli this Tuesday, Iryna Friz, Head of the Ukrainian delegation to the NATO PA, denounces the risks of a “humanitarian catastrophe”. “Artillery strikes have caused de-energizing of the towns of Avdiivka and Yasynuvata, rendered inoperable water and heat supply systems, closed schools. The hospital of the town of Avdiivka is harmed by the shelling”, she reported.
The NATO PA has consistently affirmed its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, called on Russia to reverse its illegal annexation of Crimea and stop supporting separatist militants in Eastern Ukraine, and urged full implementation of the Minsk agreements.
Any further backtracking on the commitments made towards a ceasefire and the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine is unacceptable and would be extremely dangerous Mr Alli warned ahead of a visit to NATO Headquarters next week, where he is expected to discuss developments in Ukraine, as well as NATO’s response to instability in its eastern and southern neighbourhood and cooperation with the European Union.