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UN Concerns Over Intensified Hostilities Near Critical Infrastructure in Ukraine

© AP Photo / Evgeniy MaloletkaA local resident walking in a street is seen through a hole in an apartment building damaged by shelling in Avdiivka, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017
A local resident walking in a street is seen through a hole in an apartment building damaged by shelling in Avdiivka, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 - Sputnik International
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The UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine Neal Walker said in a statement on Wednesday that Increased hostilities in eastern Ukraine, especially close to critical infrastructure, present serious concern as they may disrupt civilian services as winter approaches.

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) — Clean water supply for 1.1 million people who live on both sides of the contact line dividing eastern Ukraine has been unstable. Donetsk Filter Station has been shelled for three consecutive nights in the past six days, while Verkhniokalmiuska Filter Station was hit for more than 12 times in one night. Voda Donbasa water company conducts repair works at its own risk to ensure civilians have access to clean water.

"The United Nations is deeply concerned by the recent escalation of hostilities near water, electricity and gas supply infrastructure in Donetsk province, eastern Ukraine," Walker said. "Such an escalation, so close to critical infrastructure, risks prompting a severe deterioration of the ongoing humanitarian crisis on Europe’s doorstep."

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Walker also expressed extreme concern about the possible release of chlorine gas stored at both filter stations, which is extremely hazardous.

The military conflict in Ukraine has been ongoing since 2014, after residents of Donbass refused to recognize the new Ukrainian government, which had come to power in what they perceive to have been a coup.

In February 2015, the parties to the Ukrainian conflict signed the Minsk peace accords in an effort to end the fighting in the crisis-torn region. Despite the peace deal, the sides continue to blame each other for ceasefire violations.

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