War in Eastern Ukraine catastrophic envoy warns

The situation in eastern Ukraine was described as a catastrophic, full-blown war by Russia’s UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, during the latest UN Security Council meeting. Russia has also called for an international humanitarian mission to be launched.

Fighting between Kiev’s army and self-defense forces intensified on Tuesday, with the Ukrainian military using heavy weaponry around Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. According to witnesses, the Ukrainian army resorted to multiple rocket launchers, including Uragan launchers and cruise missiles, RIA Novosti reported citing local militia.

Cruise missiles were spotted flying over the city of Gorlovka on Tuesday, while Uragan launchers were seen near the town of Snezhniy, witnesses told the news agency. Explosions reportedly caused by airstrikes were also heard within the city of Donetsk.

Amid the increased violence, Russia called for an emergency UN Security Council session on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine on Tuesday.

Russia’s UN envoy proposed the deployment of an international humanitarian mission, along with Russian humanitarian aid under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“We propose to send convoys of Russian humanitarian aid under the auspices of the ICRC, to Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as other towns in Ukraine, where internally displaced persons are concentrated in the eastern regions,” Churkin said.

He noted that eastern Ukrainians urgently require food, medicine, medical equipment, water purification systems, and electricity generators.

“By any human standards, the situation in the east, especially in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, is catastrophic,” Churkin said. “Today with certainty we can and should be talking about a real war – the International Committee of the Red Cross officially acknowledged the internal armed conflict in the east of Ukraine.”

“Artillery, tanks, as well as rockets are used. There is continuing information from locals about the use of phosphorus bombs and cluster bombs,” Churkin added. “There is indiscriminate shelling of housing blocks and critical civilian infrastructure. In many small towns about 80 percent of houses have been destroyed, according to most conservative estimates. More than 600 buildings have fallen.”