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    Police detain a protester during a rally against trade with Ukraine's rebel-held eastern areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in central Kiev, Ukraine February 19, 2017

    Russia Calling on UN Bodies to Help Alleviate Crisis in Ukraine

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    Russia's deputy foreign minister called for seeking normalization in Ukraine.

    GENEVA (Sputnik) – Russia is calling on humanitarian and human rights bodies of the United Nations to seek the normalization in Ukraine and implementation of tasks set out by the Minsk agreements, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Tuesday.

    "We expect that the UN human rights and humanitarian agencies will seek the normalization of the situation and and implementation of tasks set out by the Minsk agreements," Gatilov said at the UN Human Rights Council session.

    According to the diplomat, Moscow is still worried about Kiev's failure to implement the Minsk agreements. He said that ultra-radical forces in Ukraine had suddenly re-emerged, including those "calling for ethnic cleansing."

    "As a result, we are witnessing another round of tensions and the escalation of the fratricidal war," Gatilov added.

    On February 15, Ukraine’s cabinet convened an extraordinary meeting and introduced a state of emergency in the country's energy sector due to the blockade of coal supplies from Donbass.

    The Donbass conflict erupted in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the West-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that had toppled elected President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held independence referendums and proclaimed the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Kiev has since been conducting a military operation, encountering stiff local resistance.

    In February 2015, Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters signed a peace agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in Donbass, as well as constitutional reforms that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. Despite the agreement, the ceasefire regime is regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.

    The situation worsened at the end of January 2017 when the battles between Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters intensified in the towns of Avdiivka and Yasynuvata, where the population is suffering from the lack of running water and central heating.


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