UNITED NATIONS, August 6 (RIA Novosti) - At least 1,367 people have been killed by fighting in the East of Ukraine since mid-April, UN humanitarian official John Ging said at an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday.
“The humanitarian situation is deteriorating, and the worrying increase in violence in urban areas puts a greater number of people at risk,” said Ging, the director of operations of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
According to Ging, in Donetsk and Luhansk “the water supply is reduced to a few hours a day. Health supplies are running low, and an estimated 70% of health personnel have fled.”
The overall number of refugees and internally displaced people is large. “Since the start of the year 168,677 Ukrainians are registered as having crossed into Russia, with nearly 60,000 of these having applied for refugee status and a further 115,952 having applied for other forms of legal stay,” Ging added.
He also acknowledged that “this is not the full picture as many Ukrainians that have fled their homes do not register with Ukrainian authorities or officially apply for assistance. The Russian authorities and UNHCR are reporting that 740,000 people have crossed the border since the start of the year.”
Russia's Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin, who requested the urgent Security Council meeting, said Russia seeks full transparency and suggested sending humanitarian convoys to eastern Ukraine that will be protected and sponsored by the Red Cross. He added that the Red Cross representative should observe the loading process and escort then while on the way to those in need.
Churkin reminded that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sent official requests to the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN to establish a humanitarian mission in southeastern Ukraine.