We will not forget.

We will not forgive.

 

ACAPS Briefing Note

"acaps.org"

According to Briefing Note of ACAPS (The Assessment Capacities Project) published on September 29, Ukraine doesn’t need International assistance to overcome ongoing conflict, but nevertheless, expected impact is estimated as “moderate”.
It must be noticed that despite a ceasefire agreed on September 5 in talks between Ukraine, Russia, rebels and the OSCE, fighting has continued in some locations, causing further casualties. Displacement numbers indicate an increase of almost 120,000 IDPs compared to mid-August.
According to known information 3,219 people now considered as killed; 8,198 as injured; hundreds as missing.
By September 18 more than 275,000 IDPs had been registered (over 257,500 from eastern Ukraine and more than 17,500 from Crimea). The largest numbers of registered IDPs come from Donetsk region (more than 53,000). The number of IDPs originating from the Donbas region (Luhansk and Donetsk) is likely to rise if the ceasefire does not hold, as is the number of casualties among civilians.

Impact on Critical Infrastructure
Destruction and damage caused by fighting has resulted in the interruption of water and gas networks, telephone communication, and electricity provision in the conflict zone. Vital infrastructure such as railway lines, roads, and bridges have also been damaged (ICIS 17/09/2014). Coal supplies about 28% of the country’s primary energy consumption, which includes heat and power (Bloomberg 18/09/2014), and most of the country's coal mines are located in Donetsk and Luhansk. Coal, steel and manufacturing facilities have been damaged in the conflict. With the upcoming winter, the lack of coal supply from the eastern provinces has become a problem. Ukraine's electricity supply is at risk because of lower coal supply and outages at coal-fired power plants caused by the destruction of boilers, damaged transmission lines and bombed rail delivery routes (ICIS 17/09/2014; WoodMacKenzie 23/09/2014, WoodMacKenzie 23/09/2014).

The estimation of the situation defined the following priorities:

  1. Shelter and NFIs: Provision of winterized collective shelters to IDPs; provision of blankets, warm winter clothes, and heating material, restoration of electricity supply.
  2. Health: Access to and availability of healthcare in the conflict areas. Supply of pharmaceuticals and consumables (vaccines, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and TB, including multi-drug resistant TB).
  3. WASH: Restoration of water infrastructure and access to safe drinking water in conflict areas.
  4. Food security: Limited access to food – either because of insecurity or because of limited financial resources - remains a concern; many livelihoods have been impacted by the crisis, businesses destroyed and employment opportunities been hampered.

Unfortunately, the situation can potentially be aggravated by several factors such as upcoming parliamentary elections (will take place on 26 October 2014 instead of October 2017) and economic situation which is getting only worse.
GDP growth forecasts for 2014 from mid-September indicate a negative development of -9% (EBR 09/2014). Annual inflation rose from 12.6% in July to 14.2% in August, the highest rate since September 2009. The average variation in consumer prices increased from 3.9% in July to 5.2% in August (Focus Economics 2014). Higher prices for goods and services to sustain livelihoods are hitting hardest those whose financial resources have become depleted during the crisis, through displacement, unemployment or not having received benefits and pensions.

Ongoing and upcoming problems
  • The humanitarian response in Ukraine has been constrained by fighting. If the ceasefire holds the possibility for unimpeded humanitarian access to the conflict zones and the safe movement of people is increased (EC 12/09/2014).
  • The presence of humanitarian actors is reportedly increasing in the country, but bureaucratic, security and financial restrictions are impeding response (OCHA 19/09/2014).
  • There is no standardized IDP registration system available and no facilitation of IDP access to government services and humanitarian assistance (OCHA 19/09/2014).
  • Transportation, storage and logistics might become an issue with the onset of winter.
  • Source: "acaps.org" ACAPS Briefing Note

    Conflict in Ukraine

    "ec.europa.eu"

    The European Union is following with great concern the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, especially its impact on the civilian population. The number of injured and displaced and those left in need of assistance has been increasing steeply in recent months. With winter on the doorstep, the situation is additionally worrying.

    The European Union is engaged in the political and diplomatic efforts to end this conflict, but also in the emergency support for its most vulnerable victims.

    The situation on the ground is serious: humanitarian organisations report close to 3200 casualties and more than 8000 wounded civilians, including many children. An estimated 5.1 million people are affected by the crisis. More than 292 000 people are internally displaced and more than 366 000 have fled to neighbouring countries. In the region of Luhansk, food and medicines are in short supply and there are electricity, water and communication breakdowns.

    At the same time, many people are returning home in the areas recaptured by government forces. They find destruction and shortage of basic services.

    Europe's humanitarian aid

    EU humanitarian experts have been deployed in the region since February to monitor the situation and to ensure a timely and coordinated humanitarian support. The Commission has worked on strengthening the capacity of the Ukrainian Red Cross to provide first aid and relief supplies.

    The European Commission has repeatedly increased its humanitarian assistance for the affected people. The European Commission has provided €7.5 million in humanitarian aid for the victims of the conflict to be channelled through humanitarian organisations. The funds cover the shelter, food, water, healthcare, psycho-social assistance and protection needs of the displaced and returning people in preparation for the coming winter. The European Commission is also providing €17 million of development assistance to be used by the Ukrainian authorities to support the reconstruction efforts and cater for the needs of the displaced.

    The Commission is also working on supporting the Ukrainian State Emergency Service and other authorities through capacity building activities in the context of the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism.

    The EU reiterates its call upon all sides in the conflict to support and protect the work of humanitarian organisations and to allow the provision of assistance to the civilian population in accordance with International Humanitarian Law.

    Source: "ec.europa.eu" Conflict in Ukraine

    Don’t overlook humanitarian impact of Ukraine

    crisis, urges OSCE PA’s Kulkuloglu

    "oscepa.org"

    COPENHAGEN, 23 September 2014 – As the international community supports a diplomatic solution in Ukraine, the humanitarian impact of the crisis must not be overlooked, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Mehmet Sevki Kulkuloglu told a gathering of international human rights experts in Warsaw.

    Kulkuloglu, a member of the Turkish Parliament, serves as the Vice-Chair of the OSCE PA's Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions. He is representing the Parliamentary Assembly this week at the OSCE's 2014 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM), Europe's largest annual human rights and democracy conference.

    "With thousands dead from the ongoing fighting, and more than a million now displaced, the human tragedy of this crisis cannot be ignored," Kulkuloglu said during the meeting's opening session on 22 September.

    "The OSCE's important role is recognized by all parties to the conflict, but we need to step up our peace-building measures and other actions to ensure immediate impact on the ground. We need to address the humanitarian disaster unfolding -- especially now, when the winter season is not far away," he added.

    The OSCE PA's human rights vice-chair also recounted key pledges and recommendations made by parliamentarians from across the OSCE area at the PA's Annual Session this summer. He urged government officials in attendance to heed parliamentarians' calls to prioritize the protection of migrants' rights; candidly address the issue of political prisoners in the OSCE area; and boost efforts to combat human trafficking and other forms of torture.

    Kulkuloglu also underscored the Parliamentary Assembly's repeated recommendations that the OSCE reinvest in its field operations and organize frequent, public meetings on human rights and implementation of commitments.

    During the event's session on freedom of expression on 23 September, Kulkuloglu went on to call for the immediate release of journalists in the OSCE area "who have been imprisoned for having done nothing more than carry out their profession." He decried attempts by governments to stifle the media in the name of "security" or as a means to combat "foreign influence":

    "Such behavior is entirely without merit. In times of tension it is especially vital that we abide by our commitments and principles. If we cannot do so when it is most difficult, we undermine their foundation and open the door to their arbitrary application – a slippery slope toward the persecution of minority opinions and ideas," Kulkuloglu said.

    The OSCE PA's human rights vice-chair also voiced alarm about continuing attacks on journalists and restrictions on the media in the context of the Ukraine crisis.

    Source: "oscepa.org" Don’t overlook humanitarian impact of Ukraine crisis, urges OSCE PA’s Kulkuloglu

    Alyona Shkrum: Protraction of IDPs’s regulation will lead to humanitarian

    crisis in Ukraine

    "uacrisis.org"

    September 19, 2014, Kyiv – On September 16th Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine did not approve an important Bill 4490 А1 «On rights and freedoms of internally displaced persons». The Parliamentary Head Mr Turchynov put it to the vote in last minutes of the Verkhovna Rada working day, so the deputies were not reading it. It should be noted, this draft law is one of the few draft laws elaborated together with civic activists and organizations, representatives of internally displaced persons, experts of the Presidential Administration, peoples’ deputies etc. It has already been considered and approved by the leading committee. It was the statement an advocacy expert, an implementing partner of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Alyona Shkrum made during her media briefing in Ukraine Crisis Media Center. «We are to realize that this law is utterly important and in itself directed at integration and peace within the country. Protraction of IDPs’s problem regulation will lead to humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, the issue involves at least 312 thousand officially registered refugees. Nevertheless, according to our estimation, in reality this number is twice as big and it may reach 600 thousand people by this winter», – said Alyona.

    Ms Shkrum presented an appeal to Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, signed by a number of civic organizations, demanding to consider the Bill instantly during Verkhovna Rada session on October 14, 2014, and adopt it in the first reading and as a whole. «The state has no right to abandon over half a million of its citizens, who are at present unable to fond lodging or work or even receive humanitarian aid», – said Alyona Shkrum.

    The major provision of the Draft law is creating a unified coordination center, imposing responsibility upon one state body, i.e. the Ministry of Social Policy, simplifying the registration and humanitarian aid provision procedure, simplifying customs clearance procedure and abolishing 17% tax on humanitarian aid from international organizations and foundations.

    Source: "uacrisis.org" Alyona Shkrum: Protraction of IDPs’s regulation will lead to humanitarian crisis in Ukraine

    Luhansk Region Disconnected From Electricity After Shelling That Caused Fire At Luhansk Thermal

    Electric Power Station

    "ukranews.com"

    Luhansk region was disconnected from electric power supplying after the shelling that caused fire at Luhansk thermal electric power station in the town of Schastie, Luhansk region, a spokesperson for Luhansk Regional State Administration told Ukrainian News.

    All towns and districts in Luhansk region have been switched off from electricity since 16:15 September 17, the spokesperson noted.

    The thermal electric power plant is still on fire. No casualties have been reported.

    As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Luhansk thermal electric power station (Schastie, Luhansk region) was disconnected from electricity after the shelling that started fire in its transformer.

    Aidar battalion mined some facilities at the station on September 4.

    Source: "ukranews.com" Luhansk Region Disconnected From Electricity After Shelling That Caused Fire At Luhansk Thermal

    UN: More than a million Ukrainians displaced

    "Aljazeera"


    UN agency says more than a million people have been uprooted by the conflict in Ukraine, including 260,000 internally.

    More than one million people have been uprooted by the conflict in Ukraine, including 260,000 within the country where further mass displacement is feared due to ongoing fighting, the United Nations has said.

    Some Ukrainian nationals have fled by motorcycle to Russia, while others have escaped the crisis by spending the summer months at European spas or visiting grandparents, it said.

    The total includes 814,000 Ukrainians now in Russia with various forms of status, as well as compatriots who have fled to Belarus, Moldova, the three Baltic states and European Union, a senior official of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said.

    "It's safe to say you have over a million people now displaced as a result of the conflict, internally and externally together," Vincent Cochetel, director of the UNHCR's bureau for Europe, told reporters in Geneva.

    "I mean 260,000 in Ukraine, it's a low estimate, 814,000 in Russia, then you add the rest ... Belarus, Moldova, the European Union."

    Of 814,000 Ukrainian nationals who have entered Russia this year, 260,000 have applied for some sort of protective status, he said. The remaining 554,000 have arrived on the basis of a visa-free regime allowing them to stay up to 270 days, he added.

    "We see them arriving sometimes by foot, by bus, by motorcycle," said Cochetel, recently returned from the region.

    Within Ukraine, most people displaced by earlier fighting have returned to areas retaken by Kiev's army, Cochetel said.

    "In terms of the ongoing fighting, in Donetsk, Luhansk and in the south of Donetsk oblast (district), we very concerned about risk of further exodus," Cochetel said.

    UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres is "very concerned about the risk of further displacement of major proportion in that part of the country", he said.

    Guterres said in a statement: "If this crisis is not quickly stopped, it will have not only devastating humanitarian consequences, but it also has the potential to destabilise the whole region."

    In all, 4,106 Ukrainians have applied for asylum in EU countries led by Poland, Germany and Sweden, UNHCR figures show. Some 380 Ukrainians have sought asylum in Belarus, but many more have gone to the former Soviet republic, it said.

    "We have reached 20,000 for residence permits in Belarus, the authorities don't want to call them refugees, they have asked us not to call them refugees because we don't know what will happen to those people in the future.

    "But that's the visible tip of the iceberg. We believe there are more people in Moldova," he said.

    Source: "Aljazeera" UN: More than a million Ukrainians displaced

    Ukraine: Civilians are paying the price of heavy fighting

    "Doctors without borders"


    Hospitals are shelled, ambulances are taken by armed groups, civilians are injured, and as the conflict spreads, there are few safe places to hide. MSF emergency coordinator Colette Gadenne, just back from the Donetsk region, describes the escalating humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine.

    “In the Donetsk region where I was based, the fighting is spread over large areas and the violence is high intensity – there is ground fighting, as well as very heavy artillery fire, hitting not only military targets but also apartment buildings and hospitals.

    Donetsk’s Hospital No 1 has been hit by shelling – and it’s not the only one. Many hospitals in the region have been struck. For civilians in the war zone, few places are safe to hide.

    You never know where the heavy artillery is going to strike and many people have been wounded. An ambulance driver in Luhansk was killed not far from the hospital grounds. In Amvrosievka, some medical staff were killed in the shelling whilst returning from hospital duty.

    Nowhere to go

    Large numbers of people have been displaced from their homes by the fighting. Most choose to shelter with relatives, if they have them. There are displaced people everywhere – in the big cities, in the towns, even in small villages.

    But the most vulnerable people have nowhere to go. There are a lot of people in this region waiting for their pension to be paid or to receive their social benefits, but in many places the banks have stopped functioning and people have run out of money.

    Some cannot leave the combat zones and stayed on despite the ground fighting and the shelling. Some of the displaced have nothing – not even food. That’s why they end up seeking shelter in hospitals, where at least they are fed.

    I visited a lot of hospitals which struggle with growing numbers of war wounded and displaced.

    MSF is providing them with assistance, distributing hygiene kits in the hospitals, as well as supplying drugs and consumables, so that the hospitals can treat the displaced people free of charge.

    For hospital staff in eastern Ukraine, it’s increasingly difficult to run the show. Their commitment to continue to work under such difficult circumstances is amazing.

    Deteriorating humanitarian situation

    The humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine is deteriorating sharply but it’s hidden. The war-wounded and the displaced are spread among the region’s hospitals, and because they are not very visible – because you don’t see a refugee camp, or a long column of people carrying their belongings – they are getting little attention.

    Many parts of the war zone are extremely difficult to reach and very dangerous to move around in, because of the intensity of the fighting. MSF’s teams have been distributing medical and surgical kits for treating war-wounded to more than 40 hospitals, enough for 6,200 injured.

    We have also organised ‘drop zones’ near to the fighting, so that when there is a lull in the violence, hospital staff can come and collect the kits. At the same time we are supplying specialised drugs for dialysis patients, patients with severe burns, and the most severe cases treated in the regional hospital of Donetsk.

    Disaster for war-wounded

    For hospital staff in eastern Ukraine, it’s increasingly difficult to run the show. Their commitment to continue to work under such difficult circumstances is amazing.

    The region is running out of anti-tetanus vaccines and external fixators – a disaster for the war-wounded. The medical staff didn’t expect to be treating all these war-wounded civilians with dreadful injuries, including children and pregnant women.

    The people of eastern Ukraine didn’t expect this war; they never imagined such things happening in their own country. And it is far from over - we have now to prepare for the coming winter and all the additional hardship and challenges it will bring.”

    Source: "Doctors without borders" Ukraine: Civilians are paying the price of heavy fighting

    Donetsk Jews in Exile: Pray for Us

    "Chabad Lubavitch"

    As world news about the middle-east dominates, less attention is being paid the plight of Ukrainian citizens and residents whose cities have been turned into raging battlefields. The dead are in the streets, food is scarce, and in city after city, hundreds of thousands have fled their homes for safer ground.

    “It is a churban,” says Rabbi Pinchas Vishedski, using the Hebrew term for destruction. “It is a humanitarian crisis.” Vishedski, the chief rabbi and a long-time resident of Donetsk, has watched as the city’s Jewish community—a sizable 10,000 with a thriving infrastructure that he helped build, including a JCC, schools, camps, kosher shops and restaurants—has come to a screeching halt.

    With a population of about one million, Donetsk has been nearly emptied of its residents following the invasion by pro-Russian and rebel forces. Some three fourths—nearly 700,000 people have fled in recent weeks.

    Many fled to Mariupol, a port city some 120 kilometers south of Donetsk, which government troops won back from pro-Russian separatists in early June. But the rabbi remained until last week, making arrangements for his community members to leave. Exposed to rockets and gunfire, Vishedski finally left when the water tap ran dry.

    “When the water supply was bombed last week, and there was no more running water here, I realized it was time for me to leave as well.”

    Vishedski joined his wife and children, setting up an office in Mariupol, where he rented 50 apartments to house 200 people from Donetsk. Working together with the other Donetsk shluchim—there are 10 altogether—he says,“We are doing whatever we possibly can from here.”

    Much of the funding to help his community people relocate and sustain themselves while they are out of work, he says, came from Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein’s Keren Yedidut, and from Rabbis David Mondshine and Shlomo Peles of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS.

    Yehoshua Sagirov, a stock trader, has been biding his time with his wife and children in Kharkiv, where friends have given him use of their apartment. With a newborn who arrived only six days before they fled, the family is anxious to return to their home, but no one can tell them when that will be.

    “We had such a beautiful life in Donetsk,” Sagirov says wistfully, describing a thriving Jewish scene where people took ownership of their community, sharing the rabbi’s vision to create the rich Jewish lifestyle they enjoyed. “This is devastating to us.”

    30 year-old Velvel Shtein, a shop salesman in Donetsk, is now living off his savings, staying with his wife and two children in Kremenchug. Like Yehoshua and so many other members of Donetsk’s Jewish community, Shtein is grateful for his smartphone, staying in touch with Vishedski by whatsapp.

    When Shtein’s wife, Sveta, had a baby boy two weeks ago, the couple reminisced about the bris of their first son in Donetsk, “in the most exciting and interesting Jewish city in Ukraine.” If they couldn’t make their newborn’s bris in Donetsk, they at least wanted their rabbi with them, and Vishedski made the 7-hour drive to Kremenchug to participate at the bris of baby Aharon.

    The unknown, all say, compounds the anxiety and stress. “No one is telling us anything, and we have no idea how long this will continue,” the rabbi says. In the meantime, for families with school age children, it’s back-to-school, but there is no school to go back to, so Vishedski is working with his colleagues and others in the area trying to get a temporary Jewish school set up in Mariupol.

    Back in Donetsk, an eerie emptiness has replaced the noisy, boisterous JCC. The school building is closed, as is the kosher restaurant. A few Jews remained. One is keeping the synagogue open, and a quorum of Jews make their way, courageously dodging danger every morning to pray.

    “We need everyone’s prayers,” the rabbi-in-exile says.

    Source: "Chabad Lubavitch" Donetsk Jews in Exile: Pray for Us

    UN warns of deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ukraine

    "DW"


    The United Nations has warned the humanitarian situation in Ukraine is getting worse on a daily basis. A senior UN official told an emergency Security Council session "immediate action" is required to halt the crisis.

    John Ging, the director of UN humanitarian operations, told the Security Council late Tuesday (early Wednesday European time) that the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine was deteriorating as access to power and water became more difficult, homes were destroyed and health workers fled.

    The violence in the region, particularly in urban areas, will put more people at risk and lead to "an increase in the numbers killed" if no diplomatic solution can be reached, Ging said.

    "Immediate action is therefore required to prevent this," he added.

    Deteriorating situation

    Nearly 1,400 people have been killed and more than 4,000 injured in the unrest, Ging told council members at the emergency meeting, which was requested by Russia.

    Earlier on Tuesday, the UN's refugee agency said 700,000 people have left the country for Russia during the four-month conflict, and an additional 117,000 people have been displaced inside Ukraine. Around 1,000 people flee the combat zone ever day, according to UN figures.

    In the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk, at least two civilians were killed in heavy clashes on the outskirts of the city. Local administration said the fighting was focused on the western Petrovsky suburb as government forces carried on with their offensive to oust the pro-Russian separatists.

    Nearly four million people in eastern Ukraine are affected by the violence, Ging said. In Donetsk and Luhansk power has been cut to a few hours a day, while health supplies are running low and an estimated 70 percent of healthcare personnel have fled, he added.

    Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin called the situation in the region "disastrous." He accused Ukraine's government of indiscriminately shelling houses, saying 80 percent of houses have been destroyed in many small towns.

    Ukraine, US blame Russia

    Ukraine's deputy UN ambassador Oleksandr Pavlichenko has denied there is a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, but said the conditions in Donetsk and the nearby city of Luhansk were serious.

    "The situation is manageable by the government of Ukraine, which remains open to cooperation with international partners," he said.

    In Washington, the Pentagon said Russia had moved 10,000 troops closer to Ukraine's eastern border. The US and Kyiv accuse Moscow of providing support to the separatists in the east.

    The deputy US ambassador, Rosemary DiCarlo, claimed Russia could singlehandedly stop the unrest in the region.

    "The surest way to end the violence is for Russia to stop the flow of fighters, weapons and money from Russia into eastern Ukraine," she said.

    Source: "DW" UN warns of deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ukraine

    Eastern Ukraine Faces Humanitarian Crisis as Kiev Steps Up Attack

    GlobalResearch


    The Kiev regime is utilising western provocations against Russia over the crash of flight MH17 as the cover for a major military offensive in eastern Ukraine. Reports speak of a developing humanitarian crisis, with 230,000 people internally displaced due to the conflict.

    The onslaught comes after Ukraine’s Rada agreed on Thursday to impose an additional 1.5 percent hike in income tax to fund military operations. The across the board tax, which will hit an already impoverished population especially hard, came just a week after the Rada agreed to further expand conscription, following the reinstatement of the military draft in May.

    These actions are indicative of the authoritarian character of the regime installed with western backing in February. The tax was approved despite the fact that just the week before, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk had announced his resignation and that of the entire cabinet, bringing down the government.

    The billionaire oligarch and President, Petro Poroshenko, in league with extreme-rightists, is using the ensuing instability to press Kiev’s advantage. The objective is not only to suppress pro-Russian separatists, but to intimidate the entire Ukrainian population in advance of new elections, scheduled for October, which they hope will rubber stamp the austerity demands of the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

    Government forces, including fascist brigands, have reportedly taken control of the towns of Krasnogorovka and Staromikhailovka, just outside Donetsk—the centre of pro-Russian separatist forces.

    These towns are close to the area where MH17 crashed on July 17, killing all 293 passengers and crew. Without a shred of evidence, the western powers, led by the US, have blamed Russia for the aircraft’s downing and have imposed sweeping sanctions against Moscow. Yet, more than a fortnight since the tragedy, the results from the official investigation into the crash have still not been released.

    Talks in Belarus between Ukraine, Russia and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) last week agreed a local cease-fire in the vicinity of the crash site to enable the recovery of bodies.

    But even as the team of some 400 investigators began their task, the Ukrainian regime took advantage of the agreement to encircle Donetsk and cut its link with Luhansk, the other main pro-separatist stronghold.

    Significant fighting has been reported around Shakhtarsk, just 15 miles from the main crash site. At least ten Ukrainian troops are said to have been killed in their attempt to retake the town, which links Donetsk and Luhansk, from rebel forces on Friday.

    Pro-government forces are bombarding Donetsk, home to 1 million people, particularly the outlying suburbs. On Wednesday, 19 people were reported to have been killed in just 24 hours as Ukrainian forces fired heavy artillery shells into a number of apartment blocks in the Vetka district, just one mile from the city centre. Train departures were suspended after rail lines were damaged.

    Luhansk, near the Russian border, is said to be completely surrounded by government forces and without electricity and running water. The city, usually home to 400,000 people, has been shelled for more than eight days.

    While there are no figures available as to the causalities of this latest onslaught, the United Nations estimates that more than 1,100 were killed in the six weeks leading up to July 26 and 3,500 wounded. Almost 40,000 people have taken refuge in camps in Russia’s Rostov region. The Russian Red Cross described the situation in eastern Ukraine as a humanitarian catastrophe and has urged the evacuation of all children from the war zones.

    In a televised statement Ukraine’s Army Chief Valeriy Geletey said, “All those who want to leave Ukrainian towns and villages still have the possibility to run back to Russia.”

    “Believe me they are fleeing. We are getting calls saying ‘let us leave the towns’,” he gloated.

    Following his appointment by Poroshenko on July 3, Geletey reportedly boasted that “Ukraine will win” the civil war and that its “victory parade is sure to be in Ukrainian Sevastopol.” On March 16, Sevastopol, as part of the Crimea, voted in a referendum to become part of the Russian Federation.

    After scenes in mid-April when a regular battalion of the Ukrainian army refused to fire on a crowd near Slavyansk and abandoned their arms, the Kiev regime has established a national guard and is relying on “volunteer” militias—many comprising open fascists—to prosecute its war in eastern Ukraine.

    The Financial Times, August 1, reported on “patriotically minded citizens” “mobilising” in support of Kiev. Amongst the “patriots,” it cited the far-right Azov Battalion, which has “just received its first armoured personnel carrier, a donation from a wealthy Kiev businessman.”

    Such brigades have been “instrumental” in the Kiev offensive, it noted approvingly.

    The Azov Battalion, financed by oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, is led by Andriy Biletsky, head of the extreme right Social National Assembly (SNA). Allied to the fascist Right Sector party, it played a lead role in February’s coup. Comprising open neo-Nazis, its mission is the “liberation of the entire White Race from the domination of the internationalist speculative capital.”

    Such is the racist filth on which Kiev and its backers in Washington and Brussels are relying in their geo-strategic offensive against Moscow.

    Igor Sutyagin, a military expert at the Royal United Services Institute in London, told the FT, “Over the past three months, Ukrainian troops have learnt how to fight. The authorities have untied their hands and they are fighting pitilessly.”

    Formerly disused factories in Kiev are reportedly churning out weapons, including 1,000 armoured personal carriers. But, as the FT admits, the Ukrainian regime has “also benefited from international support, with the US providing millions of dollars of food packages, body armour and night-vision goggles. Ukrainian officials say the US has also provided crucial intelligence and advice on strategy.”

    On Saturday, Interfax, the Ukrainian news agency, reported that US Vice President Joe Biden had been in contact with Poroshenko and reassured him that the Obama administration was considering “expanding its support for Ukraine.”

    Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, it should be noted, has been named director of Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private natural gas production company.

    Simultaneously, the Obama administration announced it will train and arm the Ukrainian national guard from 2015. A statement from the Defense and State Departments said Congress has been notified of the intention to use “$19 million in global security contingency fund authority” to build the capacity of the national guard “for internal defence.”

    Washington has also pledged $8 million in new aid to bolster the Ukrainian border guard service.

    For its part, the European Union has sent “security advisers” to Kiev to help restore “law and order” in rebel areas. An initial £2 million has been allocated to fund the advisers, which are said to be unarmed.

    The EU has also lifted its ban on supplying Ukraine with military technology and equipment. It was imposed earlier this year in support of the pro-western Maidan protests.

    In a statement, Russia accused the EU of double standards. While the recent meeting of the Council of Europe in Brussels had overturned the ban to Ukraine “on the quiet,” it said, the same meeting had agreed sweeping sanctions against the Russian defence sector.

    Accusing the EU of joining “the side of Washington and Kiev’s fairytales regarding ongoing events in Ukraine,” the Russian Foreign Ministry statement asked, “Do they understand in the capitals of the EU countries what these irresponsible steps could lead to, either in the political or economic spheres?”

    Source: "GlobalResearch" Eastern Ukraine Faces Humanitarian Crisis as Kiev Steps Up Attack