What was reported about the events in the worst affected Sloviansk (Slovyansk) area of Donbass as of May 26 by the Human Rights Watch, and as of June 7 by UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine

There was a “Human Rights Watch Letter to Acting President Turchynov and President-Elect Poroshenko”:

… to raise issues relating to the conduct of military operations in southeastern Ukraine in light of the growing number of credible reports regarding Ukrainian forces’ use of mortars and other weapons in and around populated areas, and the recent intensifying of hostilities between Ukrainian forces and armed insurgent groups‎

which was followed by a “Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine” [15 June 2014] by UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU).

Note that the above letter had not any effect on Acting President Turchynov and President-Elect (now President) Poroshenko as quite well demonstrated by the Slavyansk. Victims Bloody War (SUBTITLES) 18 June 2014 (DPR) [Gubarev YouTube channel, June 18, 2014] video as all of Semyonovka is in ruins now, with almost all of the people had left the village, as well as Sloviansk (Slovyansk) is awaiting a similar fate.

THREE CIVILIANS KILLED BY UKRAINIAN SECURITY FORCES IN SHOOTING IN SLAVYANSK – 17 June – The Ukrainian army continues shelling of Slavyansk, Donetsk region, and its suburbs; there are victims among civilians, the municipal Executive Committee has informed RIA Novosti. &quot;The shelling took place at night, and continued during the day,&quot; a representative of the city authorities said.<br />Three civilians were killed in a shooting in the village of Vostochny on the outskirts of Slavyansk: Raisa Gulak (72) and a married couple – Vladimir and Olga Chernikov. According to the Executive Committee, two militiamen and five civilians were wounded during a shelling near Solzavod and Semyonovka. One of the wounded is severely injured.<br />During the shelling of the village of Yampol, the Ukrainian army used the multiple rocket launcher Uragan, the militia states. Read more: Three civilians killed by Ukrainian security forces in shooting in Slavyansk

Ukraine: Human Rights Watch Letter to Acting President Turchynov and President-Elect Poroshenko [Human Rights Watch, June 6, 2014]

Oleksandr Turchynov
Acting President of Ukraine

Petro Poroshenko
President-Elect of Ukraine

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to raise issues relating to the conduct of military operations in southeastern Ukraine in light of the growing number of credible reports regarding Ukrainian forces’ use of mortars and other weapons in and around populated areas, and the recent intensifying of hostilities between Ukrainian forces and armed insurgent groups‎. While we have not been in a position to investigate the most recent hostilities or many of the incidents reported in the press in the past week, our researchers did investigate two apparent mortar attacks in residential areas while on a field mission in Donetsk region between May 19 and May 26.

Human Rights Watch researchers traveled to residential areas in and around Sloviansk, where they documented significant damage to several residences and one case of damage to a hospital as a result of alleged shelling by Ukrainian forces.

On May 23, Human Rights Watch researchers visited the village of Semyonovka, on the outskirts of Sloviansk, and interviewed three local residents whose houses suffered various degrees of damage from shelling by mortars in the previous days.

“Andrey” and “Evgeniya” (not their real names) of Semyonovka told Human Rights Watch that the shelling lasted three nights and had become more frequent and longer in duration each night. They described the whooshing sound of something ripping through the air immediately prior to the detonations and said they had hid in the basement every night out of fear that their homes would be hit. They said that at least nine houses in the village suffered serious damage, five of them during the night of May 22-23.

One of the homes that suffered significant damage was that of 80-year-old Zinaida Paskan, who lives on Vesennaya Street in a one-floor house consisting of three rooms and a kitchen. Paskan told Human Rights Watch that much of her house was destroyed in a strike on the evening of May 21.

She told Human Rights Watch,

I was sitting on the sofa reading the Bible and suddenly there is this terrible noise and the wall just collapses, and everything [the debris] is flying around.… I just ran and hid under the table…. For the past two nights, I’ve been hiding in my neighbor’s basement.

Human Rights Watch researchers examined Paskan’s house, which was largely destroyed. They saw a large hole in the ground about one meter from the house, created where the shell hit, with shell fragments, which according to experts’ assessment and photographs of the fragments were from a 120-milimiter mortar, distributed around the hole.

Human Rights Watch saw that Paskan’s living room was fully destroyed, as was part of the bedroom, which was also full of debris. The kitchen, located in the back of the house, was damaged by debris but was still intact. The house was left uninhabitable by the damage.

The location and shape of the crater that was created by the shell directly in front of the house suggest a trajectory of the shell consistent with being fired from Karachun hill, the site of the Ukrainian military base across from Sloviansk. The statements taken from Paskan and other village residents support such a conclusion.

Human Rights Watch examined another house on the same street, which was half destroyed by a shell the night before. Human Rights Watch also saw three other severely damaged houses nearby. Two of them still had smoldering roofs, as they had apparently caught fire from the shelling of the previous night. All the damaged houses appeared to be in one, lower, section of the village. The residents told Human Rights Watch that the entire lower part of the village lost electricity two days previously, apparently as a result of the shelling. The residents also said that a female resident of Semyonovka was hit by a shell fragment two days earlier and was hospitalized with a head wound. A medical worker from Sloviansk later confirmed this information to Human Rights Watch and said that the woman had received treatment at the local hospital and left the area with her family.

On May 25, Human Rights Watch researchers visited the site of a psychiatric hospital in the town of Sloviansk that had been hit with a mortar shell early that morning but which had not exploded.

The researchers examined the damage caused by the dud to the wall of one of the hospital buildings – a large hole in the wall between the second and third floors. The mortar dud also partly destroyed windows in that segment of the wall. There were fragments of shattered glass on the ground in front of the building.

Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed two nurses who work at the hospital. The nurses told Human Rights Watch that the damaged building was the in-patient wing which accommodated 28 elderly (between ages 70 and 80) and immobile patients. The nurses said that a group of insurgents had come to their hospital wing at around 5.30 p.m. the night before the attack as the staff was bringing dinner to patients. The insurgents warned the hospital staff that there would be shelling during the night and offered help with evacuating patients. It is not known to Human Rights Watch why or how the insurgents knew there was going to be shelling. The hospital staff, with the help from the insurgents, led (and carried on stretchers) the patients to the basement of a neighboring hospital building at around 7 p.m. The patients spent the night in the basement, together with some of the nursing staff.

The two nurses Human Rights Watch interviewed said they went home after taking the patients to the basement, but that patients and hospital staff who were in the basement all night later told them they heard explosions several times during the night. A particularly loud explosion came at around 5:30 a.m.

Judging from interviews with people at the scene, it seems that there was both incoming and outgoing fire, although Human Rights Watch could not establish the location of the outgoing fire.

When the hospital staff and the patients finally left the basement at around 8 a.m., they saw that their building was hit. The two nurses Human Rights Watch interviewed said that they got to work at around 8 a.m. on May 25 and saw the damage.

Human Rights Watch researchers saw numerous armed insurgents both on May 23 in Semyonovka and on May 25 on the ground of the psychiatric hospital. The insurgents had set up numerous checkpoints in the area. In Semyonovka, for example, there was a checkpoint several hundred meters from Paskan’s home. Other villagers told Human Rights Watch that the insurgents “are there to protect us, and so they shoot at the military [Ukrainian servicemen] on that [Karachun] hill to prevent them from attacking us.” At the time of Human Rights Watch’s visit to Sloviansk, there was an insurgent checkpoint immediately next to the psychiatric hospital. When asked by Human Rights Watch if the insurgency had set up positions in the hospital, a nurse said, “I’m not at liberty to say” just as several armed men in camouflage were crossing the courtyard to join a larger group standing in the other part of the courtyard.

As noted above, the nurses also said that in recent days there had been a regular exchange of fire between the insurgents and the Ukrainian servicemen. Witnesses also confirmed to Human Rights Watch that the insurgents possess and use mortars when they engage Ukrainian forces.

Human Rights Watch recognizes that the actions of the insurgents violate Ukrainian law and that the Ukrainian government is entitled to carry out law enforcement and military operations to counter the armed insurrection. We also recognize that the actions of the insurgents, operating in a populated residential area, setting up road blocks in residential areas, and moving in, around, or near to hospital grounds may endanger residents, patients, and healthcare workers at such facilities.

Nevertheless, criminal conduct by the insurgents does not relieve the Ukrainian forces of their obligations to act in accordance with international law in the conduct of their law enforcement and military operations. This is particularly the case with respect to use of lethal force. In Ukraine the obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), such as those which protect the right to life (article 2), bodily integrity (article 3), and liberty and security (article 5), as well as the inviolability of the home (article 8), remain in force during all law enforcement and military operations. (See for example the cases of Ergi v. Turkey, judgment of 28 July 1998, Reports 1998-IV and Isayeva v. Russia (2005), in which the European Court of Human Rights articulated the scope of the state’s obligations in the conduct of counter-insurgency operations.)

Article 2 of the ECHR provides that deprivation of life is not a violation of the right to life “when it results from use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary” in among other things, “action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.” Requiring that use of force be no more than “absolutely necessary” means the force used must be strictly proportionate to the achievement of the permitted aims. It also requires an examination of whether the operation was planned and controlled by the authorities so as to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, risk to life. The government’s responsibility will be engaged where they fail to take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of a security operation mounted against an opposing group with a view to avoiding and, in any event, minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life (see Ergi para 79).

In so far as the ongoing hostilities are governed by international humanitarian law, the government also has obligations never to direct attacks at civilians or civilian objects or to engage in indiscriminate attacks, to distinguish at all times between civilian objects and military objectives, and to adhere strictly to the principle of proportionality insofar as attacks that may cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, or damage to civilian objects, in excess of the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated, are prohibited. Under international humanitarian law the insurgents are bound by the same obligations, and under human rights standards, all parties must take all feasible measures to avoid, and in any event to minimize, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, and damage to civilian objects.

As noted above, Human Rights Watch is aware of physical harm to only one individual among Semyonovka residents and none among the hospital staff and patients. This does not diminish our concern that that the use of unobserved indirect fire, like shelling by mortars, in these two operations against insurgents may not have been a proportionate response to the threat of the insurgents and may not comply with Ukraine’s obligations to protect the right to life and to respect the home and property of its population.

We urge you to review all ongoing operations in Semyonovka, Sloviansk, and elsewhere to ensure that in carrying out counter-insurgency operations, Ukrainian forces are fully aware of all their obligations under international law and that the use of lethal force that may result in the death or injury of civilians or may cause unjustified harm to civilian property and infrastructure is strictly justified under international law.

Sincerely,

Hugh Williamson
Director
Europe and Central Asia Division
Human Rights Watch

From Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine 15 June 2014 [Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights] every paragraph containing <Slovyansk> (plus a few adjacent paragraphs if they containg <Kramatorsk>)

I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The present report is based on findings of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) covering the period of 7 May – 7 June 2014. It follows two reports on the human rights situation in Ukraine released by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on 15 April and 16 May 2014.

IV. HUMAN RIGHTS CHALLENGES

F. Internally displaced persons

[p. 26] 143. Displacement from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions started in the days leading up to the “referendum” held in both regions on 11 May. People have been trying to leave the violence affected areas, particularly Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, after witnessing violence on the streets. Armed groups and increasing criminality have generated fear.

[p. 26] 146. Political activists and journalists began to feel pressure from the armed groups who were consolidating their position in the region. After the “referendum” and with the intensification of violence, other residents of the region have started leaving their homes in areas affected by violence due to the illegal activities of armed groups and the security operations, particularly in the areas of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk. Many remain within the eastern regions in rural areas, as IDPs have been reporting harassment at checkpoints if they were perceived to be leaving the region to seek protection.

V. PARTICULAR HUMAN RIGHTS CHALLENGES IN THE EAST

A. Impact of the security situation on human rights
Deterioration of the security situation

[p. 28] 155. The security operations by the Government, with military and National Guard forces particularly concentrated around the town of Slovyansk, are present in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. With their superior manpower and military hardware, the Ukrainian armed forces have controlled access to the cities through multiple layers of check-points.

[p. 28] 158. In the two regions, the situation has been made complex as some of the armed groups operating in the regions have reportedly slipped out of the control and influence of the self-proclaimed republics and their leaders. Examples of this can reportedly be found with the armed groups in the area surrounding the town of Horlivka16  in the Donetsk region, and the armed groups operating in the border area of the Luhansk region near the border with the Russian Federation. Moreover, on the “official” “Donetsk People’s Republic” media outlet “Anna Info News”, the Slovyansk commander “Strelkov” Igor Girkin referred to “criminal groups” operating in the regions and that the “Donetsk People’s Republic” was lacking volunteers.

16 Now reportedly under the control of an armed group led by Igor Bezler.

[p. 28] 159. Regardless of the veracity of this information, the proliferation of armed groups has clearly exacerbated threats to the security of the population, posing a further challenge in ensuring the rule of law and accountability for the numerous illegal acts committed. The “Donetsk People’s Republic” has reported the presence among them of citizens of
the Russian Federation, including from Chechnya and other republics in the North Caucasus. A particular call for women to join the armed groups was made on 17 May through a video released with Igor Girkin “Strelkov”, urging women of the Donetsk region to enlist in combat units.

Casualties due to the escalation in intensity of fighting as Government aims to gain control of the territory

[p. 29] 168. On 13 May, a Ukrainian military unit was ambushed near Kramatorsk, killing seven Ukrainian soldiers. On 22 May, 17 Ukrainian servicemen were killed and 31 injured near Volnovakha (south of Donetsk); that same day another soldier was killed and two others injured in an attack by armed men on a convoy of military vehicles near Rubizhne in the Luhansk region. On 23 May, the territorial defence battalion “Donbas” was ambushed and attacked by an armed group, reportedly controlled by Igor Bezler, near the town of Horlivka close to Donetsk. Nine soldiers were wounded and detained by Bezler’s group; one was reportedly killed. On 29 May, a Ukrainian military helicopter was shot down near Slovyansk, which killed 12 service personnel who were on board, including a General.

[p. 30.] 172. The Ukrainian National Guard took control of the town of Krasnyi Liman (20 km North-West of Slovyansk) after fierce fighting on 3 June. The town hospital was badly damaged reportedly by shelling and most patients were evacuated to the basement of the hospital. Two civilians were killed. The chief surgeon of the hospital was gravely wounded, and died on 4 June.

[p. 30.] 172. IDPs from Slovyansk have described to the HRMMU the situation they have faced for the past weeks. They claim that the Ukrainian air force was shelling the city and bombed a kindergarten. They also said that for two months they did not receive any social benefits. Some of them left male members behind, and/or their parents or grandparents. A hotline at the disposal of IDPs or people who are considering leaving the areas affected by fighting is run by a few Red Cross activists. Transport of people who come to the check points is mostly organized by “Auto-Maidan” activists. Reception centres for arriving IDPs organised the initial assistance they received, including psycho-social.

Widening protection gap and erosion of the rule of law

[p. 31] 177. The difficulty of providing public services impacts the daily life of residents of the regions, including the disruption of public transport (airports remain closed and rail services are disrupted); numerous checkpoints on the roads; lack of access to cash through banks; and earlier reports of schools and kindergartens being repeatedly closed before the summer holidays began in early June. Regional governments have endeavoured to make the necessary arrangements so that local residents are able to carry on with their daily lives. While this remains possible in the larger cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, and the less affected southern part of the Donetsk region, this is a challenge in the northern part of the Donetsk region. As a consequence, there are reportedly increased numbers of people leaving the area, in particular in the areas of Slovyansk; primarily women with children (see section B, Chapter V).

B. Right to life, liberty and security

Abduction and detentions

[p. 34] 200. On 8 May, a woman went to Slovyansk to try to secure the release of her son detained by the “Donetsk People’s Republic” and was reportedly abducted by the same armed persons. She has cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy. The whereabouts of a female interpreter was unknown from 4 to 18 May. Upon her release, she reported having been detained by armed groups in Donetsk and to having being subjected to ill-treatment and sexual assault.

Killings

[p. 35] 210. The HRMMU is also concerned about reports of “summary executions” by representatives of the “Donetsk People’s Republic”. On 18 May, in a village near Slovyansk an elderly farmer was accused of bringing food to the Ukrainian forces, taken out of his house into the yard, where according to witnesses a “sentence” was read in the name of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” and shot dead, in front of his family and neighbours. Reportedly, on 26 May, by order of Igor Strelkov, Dmytro Slavov (“commander of a company of the people’s militia”) and Mykola Lukyanov (“commander of a platoon of the militia of ”Donetsk People’s Republic”) were “executed” in Slovyansk, after they were “sentenced” for “looting, armed robbery, kidnapping and abandoning the battle field”. The order, which was circulated widely and posted in the streets in Slovyansk, referred to a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR of 22 June 1941 as the basis for the execution.

Children

[p. 37] 220. The HRMMU is particularly concerned about the impact of the situation in eastern Ukraine – especially in the area between Donetsk and Slovyansk – on the human rights of women, and the most vulnerable persons – children and persons with disabilities, including those in institutional care, older persons, and those needing medical assistance.

[p. 37] 222. According to Donetsk Regional State Administration, in the period between 9 – 30 May, seven children had been wounded as a result of the illegal activities of the armed groups. According to credible reports received by the HRMMU, 14 children from the children’s institution in Slovyansk have been evacuated from the city. An NGO in Kharkiv expressed concern that there were no evacuation plans for persons with disabilities living in closed institutions. On 7 June, the Ministry of Social Policy informed the HRMMU that out of 1,494 children who are in closed institutions (children’s institutions, shelters, and so forth) in Donetsk region, 663 have been evacuated; in Luhansk region out of 760 children, 464 have been evacuated.

[p. 37] 223. As fighting intensifies and with the end of the school year on 30 May, parents are reportedly increasingly looking for ways to evacuate their children to safety. There is information that a group of children from Slovyansk has arrived in Crimea and most recently on 6 June to Odesa. On 30 May, various media outlets informed that a group of 148 children from Slovyansk was taken to a summer camp in Crimea. There were also
reports that on 31 May, a group of 21 children crossed into the Russian Federation on foot, after having to disembark from their bus at the border. This information cannot be verified by the HRMMU.

C. Freedom of expression

[p. 37] 224. Journalists’ safety continues to be a serious issue in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions due to fighting between the Government’s security forces and armed groups. On 24 May, an Italian photojournalist, Andrea Rocchelli, and his interpreter, Andrey Mironov, Russian citizen, were killed under mortar fire, while covering fighting between government forces and armed groups in Andreyevka near Slovyansk, Donetsk region. On 9 May, it was reported that a freelance cameraman of the video agency RUPTLY, which is part of the TV channel Russia Today, was wounded while filming events in Mariupol. Reportedly, he received necessary medical treatment and is in satisfactory condition.

Arbitrary arrests of journalists

[p. 38] 228. In the reporting period, Ukrainian and Russian journalists have been arbitrarily arrested; this raises concerns about the possibility for journalists to conduct their professional activities safely.

  • On 10 May, a journalist of Russian TV channel Kuibishev 61, was allegedly detained by the Ukrainian security forces at a checkpoint on the road between Slovyansk and Kramatorsk. His whereabouts remain unknown to the family. On 22 May, the HRMMU sent an official inquiry to the MoI (via the MFA) about the case. On 5 June, the HRMMU was informed that as of 15 May a criminal investigation had been opened under Article 115 (Murder) of the Criminal Code. The HRMMU has requested more information on this case.
  • Two LifeNews journalists, Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saychenko, were detained on 18 May near Kramatorsk during a raid by Ukrainian forces against the armed groups. They were released on 24 May (see section B, chapter V).
  • On the night of 6 June, two journalists of the Russian TV station “Zvezda” were detained by the National Guard of Ukraine (NGU) at a checkpoint near Slovyansk. According to their driver, who was also initially detained and later released, the journalists were cuffed, balaclavas were put on their heads, and they were forced to kneel down in a ditch (allegedly, to protect them from possible shooting). On 7 June, the NGU issued a statement saying that journalists were
    suspected of monitoring and collecting information. The MFA of the Russian Federation reportedly filed a note of protest to the MFA of Ukraine. On 8 June 2014, the TV station “Zvezda” received information from the SBU that the two journalists were in good health. They were released on 9 June and transferred to the Russian Federation.

Obstruction to lawful professional journalist activities

[p. 39] 231. In the reporting period, there has been a growing number of armed attacks on the editorial offices of the local media outlets by armed men. Some of the examples are provided below.

  • On 11, 13, 19 and 20 May, armed groups shelled the TV tower in Slovyansk, which led to interruptions in broadcasting. On 14 May, in Kramatorsk, the armed groups blocked the TV tower, which transmits the channels not only for Kramatorsk, but also Slovyansk, Horlivka and Makiivka.

E. Economic and social rights – impact of the violence

Right to education

[p. 42] 244. Despite the efforts of the Donetsk Department of education and science, as well as school administrations, studies had to be suspended in several towns of the Donetsk region in May. In Slovyansk, Krasnyi Lyman and Krasnoarmiysk, 62 schools and 46 kindergartens were not functioning, which affected 21,700 students and 5,600 children, respectively. On 28 May, it was reported that during the fights in Slovyansk two school buildings have been damaged; no one was injured.

[p. 42] 244. In other towns in the Donetsk region schools remained open, but attendance varied from 25% in Slovyansk district to 98% in Makiivka district.

Right to health

[p. 42] 250. Access to medical services, treatment and supplies for residents in areas most affected by the fighting is becoming more and more challenging. This is of particular concern as more residents are caught in the crossfire between the armed groups and Ukrainian forces. The situation is most difficult in Slovyansk. The overcrowded, understaffed and under resourced hospitals are only admitting those who are severely injured. Primary Health Care services are overloaded and at times called to provide treatments and care that are within their capacity. Patients from the Mental Health Hospital (229 persons) were evacuated from Slovyansk. All emergency services have been relocated to the nearby village of Mykolayivka, with a number of medical number units set up in Svyatohirsk
(location of a large Russian Orthodox monastery – the Lavra). Some patients were transferred to Poltava region. Pharmacies are open only a few hours per day.

[p. 43] 252. There have been reported difficulties to ensure uninterrupted provision of opioid substitution therapy (OST)21. This directly affects 759 persons (56% of whom are HIV positive) in Donetsk region and 609 (13% are HIV positive) in Luhansk region. According to the HIV/AIDS Alliance and the Wold Health Organisation, in a number of cities, such as Slovyansk, the healthcare facilities providing OST are completely controlled by armed groups. The fact that pharmaceuticals in the healthcare facilities in the districts have fallen beyond the legitimate authorities’ control, is in its essence a certain risk factor for medical staff and patients. On 30 May, OST treatment was stopped for more than 100 patients in Mariupol, due to drugs not being delivered because of the security situation. As of 2 June, HIV service organisations reported that for some patients such an interruption in treatment had resulted in people using illegal drugs. In the long run, this may lead to an increase in cases of HIV and hepatitis infections due to intravenous drug use. Due to the numerous check-points and blocked roads, as well as interruptions in public transport, the specialized hospital for HIV/AIDS patients in Yasynovata, Donetsk region, is practically inaccessible.

Conditions for treatment of patients

[p. 43] 253. The conditions for the treatment of patients, including those who have been wounded in fighting and violence, are precarious As the security situation deteriorates, so does the access to hospital care and the quality that can be provided by medical professionals. For example, in Slovyansk, medical personnel were already highlighting the problems with the delivery of medical supplies to the city. In the regions affected by violence and the ongoing security operations, hospitals are trying to allocate what funds they have to purchase the medical supplies they require. In early June, some hospitals in Donetsk discharged patients, except those in critical condition or those who were immobile, leaving the hospitals almost empty.

Housing

[p. 44] 259. The HRMMU is concerned when security operations take place in residential areas of towns and villages of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. As of 30 May, there had been reports of ruined residential buildings in Slovyansk, Kramatorsk and Donetsk. Additionally, on 7 June, it was reported that nine houses were damaged by the Ukrainian army shelling in Semyonovka near Slovyansk.

Electricity and water supply

[p. 44] 261. As of 18 May, in the Slovyansk region, 22 electrical sub-stations stopped functioning. As a result, more than 2,000 households were left without access to electricity. According to the Press-service of the company “Donetskoblenergo”, the company has all the necessary material and human resources for reconstruction. However, repair crews are unable to access the site due to the ongoing security operations.

[p. 44] 262. In the northern part of the Donetsk region, the supply of water supply is increasingly under threat, with regular interruptions. Moreover, as of 3 June, residents of Slovyansk, Konstyantynivka, Druzhkivka and Kramatorsk (cities in Donetsk region) had no access to running water, due to damage to the water supply reportedly as a result of the security operations.

Social security (services and benefits)

[p. 45] 263. Due to the deteriorating security situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, it is a growing challenge to ensure continuous work of State institutions. On 14 May, the Pension Fund department resumed its work (after the seizure of its building on 5 May) in Slovyansk, but the department’s office hours were cut. On 15 May, it was reported that the
National Bank of Ukraine suspended22  the operations of its office in Donetsk region due to the threats by the representatives of the "Donetsk People’s Republic”. On 15 May, the Ministry of Revenue and Duties of Ukraine also evacuated the staff of its directorate and tax inspections in the region.

22 The staff of the Bank was evacuated, and online banking in the region was reportedly suspended.

[p. 45] 264. On 7 June, the Ministry of Social Policy informed the HRMMU that all social payments had been made to the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. However, there were major challenges in delivering cash to Antratsyt in Luhansk region and Slovyansk and Kramatorsk in Donetsk region. The Ministry has already addressed the MoI and SBU to develop a mechanism of the safe delivery of cash to these regions if the situation remains the same or aggravates.

[p. 45] 265. On 30 May, the head of Department of Marketing Communications of the Novokramatorskiy Machine-Building Plant Volodymyr Zhuliy spoke of the imminent “humanitarian catastrophe” in Kramatorsk, due to the termination of the work of the city department of the State Treasury of Ukraine since 20 May. In particular, Mr Zhuliy mentioned that thousands of the city’s pensioners, local governance workers, educators and public health workers were deprived of the means for existence. Reportedly, the Treasury’s debt to the workers and pensioners in Kramatorsk for the payments due in May already amounted to UAH 61.4 million

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