Human rights likely to worsen in Ukraine

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The remains of burnt vehicles following the recent demonstrations in Kiev, Ukraine. (February 2014). Photo: UN (file)

Breaches in a February ceasefire agreed between warring parties in Ukraine could worsen an already dire human rights situation, according to the UN.

The eastern European country continues to be gripped by fighting between government and pro-Russian separatists which began in April 2014.

Daniel Dickinson reports.

In the past 12 months of fighting, the UN estimates that more than 6,100 people, both military personnel and civilians, have been killed and more than 15,000 wounded.

The actual number of casualties could be considerably higher.

And now more people are vulnerable following an intensification of fighting.

Ravina Shamdasani is spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"We are increasingly worried that the dire human rights situation in areas of the east of Ukraine is likely to deteriorate further as a result of breaches in the ceasefire. There are reports of intensification of fighting, especially in the vicinity of the Donetsk airport and near the village of Shyrokine in the Donetsk region, where heavy weapons, including mortars, artillery and tanks are reportedly extensively used – in violation of provisions of the Minsk Agreement."

The rebels in the east of Ukraine signed the Minsk ceasefire agreement with the government in February, but the number of violations has escalated.

On Friday US troops arrived in the country to train with the Ukrainian army.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 1’11″

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