Concern voiced about captured soldiers and trapped civilians in Ukraine

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Eastern Ukraine. Photo: UNHCR

The fate of captured Ukrainian soldiers and civilians trapped in the conflict in the Debaltseve area has caused concern for the UN human rights office in Geneva.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says it regrets that monitors of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have not been allowed access to the area.

Stephanie Castro reports.

The UN human rights office says the ceasefire agreed last week by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France has led to a decrease in hostilities in many parts of the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine.

However, it points out that although the cessation of hostilities was to have started on 15 February it did not stop in the city of Debaltseve and surrounding areas.

Rupert Colville is Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"We remain deeply worried about the fate of civilians and captured or wounded Ukrainian servicemen in the Debaltseve area where heavy fighting continued until 18 February. It's unclear still how many civilians were trapped in the town and surrounding areas while fighting was raging there, how many have been wounded or killed and whether they now have access to medical and other basic services including food and water." (27")

The UN human rights office estimates that the death toll since the conflict between government and pro-Russian separatists began in mid-April last year has now risen to over 5,600.

It says that than 14,000 people have also been wounded in the conflict, stressing that this is a conservative estimate.

Stephanie Castro, United Nations

Duration: 1’15″

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