UN official warns of a "dangerous escalation" in the conflict in Ukraine

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Jeffrey Feltman. UN Photo/Mark Garten

The southward spread of fighting along the border between Ukraine and Russia in the Sea of Azov has been described by a senior UN official as "a dangerous escalation" in the conflict.

The head of the UN Department of Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman on Thursday briefed the Security Council on the situation in eastern Ukraine.

He said illegal armed groups operating in the Donetsk region have reportedly intensified their activities over the last two days, spreading violence along the southern coast of Ukraine.

"It is further being reported that several small towns and villages in the area are now in the midst of heavy fighting. The town of Novoazovsk has been seized by armed groups. The southward spread of fighting along the border with the Russian Federation in the Sea of Azov marks a dangerous escalation in the conflict. The battle for Luhansk and hostilities in Donetsk in several key strategic areas have been spreading. We cannot ignore the deeply alarming reports of Russian military involvement in this new wave of escalation." (28")

Mr. Feltman said that if confirmed, this involvement would constitute a direct contravention of international law and of the UN Charter.

He added that the United Nations has no independent means of verifying this information and Russia has staunchly rejected these reports.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations

Duration: 1’28″

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