16:17 GMT +317 November 2019
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    Smoke rises from the chemical plant in Avdiivka, eastern Ukraine (File)

    Expert Forebodes Chemical Disaster in Industry-Rich Donbass if War Continues

    © AP Photo / Evgeniy Maloletka
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    A chemical disaster may take place if the military conflict in the industry-rich Donbass region continues, a UN expert warned.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The eastern part of Ukraine housing a large number of industrial facilities is at risk of a chemical disaster due to the ongoing military conflict, a United Nations human rights expert said in a statement.

    "Large chemical and industrial facilities are in areas where fighting is ongoing… Battles are now being fought in cities, close to industrial centres, with factories increasingly becoming at risk of being hit: the consequences for anyone living close-by would be severe," Baskut Tuncak, the special rapporteur on human rights and hazardous substances and wastes, was quoted as saying in the statement.

    Tuncak noted that all the parties involved in the conflict should be aware of the risk and take measures to prevent the possibility of industrial catastrophe caused by ongoing fighting.

    Most part of Ukrainian industrial facilities are located in the eastern part of the country, including infrastructure in the mining, metallurgical, chemical and power sectors, the statement specified.

    The Donbass conflict erupted in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the West-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that had toppled 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 brokered by the Normandy Four states, the ceasefire regime is regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.



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    Ukrainian crisis, United Nations, Baskut Tuncak, Donbass, Ukraine
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