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UN humanitarian agencies operating in Lugansk Region have been expelled by officials from the self-proclaimed “Lugansk People’s Republic,” Reuters reported.
Yesterday September 24, UN humanitarian aid chief Stephen O’Brien said:
“I am alarmed by news that the de facto authorities in eastern Ukraine
have ordered U.N. agencies in Luhansk to end operations and to leave the
area by tomorrow, 25 September.
I am also extremely concerned by the situation regarding accreditation
and registration of international NGOs (non-governmental organizations)
in Donetsk. A decision by the de facto authorities in
Donetsk on the U.N.’s future operations remains on hold, and all U.N.
agency operations have been suspended.”
According to a report from RFE/RL based on wire service reports, Bart Janssens, director of operations of the non-governmental organization Doctors without Borders (MSF), one of 10 groups targeted for expulsion by the “Lugansk People’s Republic” said the move was “unacceptable given the significant medical and humanitarian needs of people affected by the ongoing conflict in Luhansk”:
“MSF has been one of the few international organizations providing
vital assistance in Luhansk for more than a year,” MSF Director of
Operations Bart Janssens said in a statement on September 25. “We have
been dedicated to supporting doctors and nurses to be able to carry on
their crucial work.”
Russian-backed separatist authorities rejected the accreditation applications of 10 organizations, only accepting an 11th, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), although the ICRC had been cited for “fire safety regulations” earlier this month.
The Czech-based People in Need Foundation was among those expelled for “grave violations” which were not explained, said a representative.
In May, workers from the International Rescue Committee were first kidnapped for 10 days by separatists, then expelled.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
Four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded yesterday by a land mine, reports the Lugansk Military-Civil Administration.
According to this morning’s announcement, the soldiers, from the 22nd Mechanised Infantry Battalion, were conducting engineering work by an observation post near the village of Orekhovo, on the Bakhmutka highway, when the blast occurred at around 14:15.
The four are reported to have survived the blast but suffered multiple injuries.
Just yesterday, the Ukrainian military reported that one soldier had been killed and two wounded by another mine in the same area on September 23.
The Administration also reported that an 85-year-old shepherd was wounded by a tripwire mine near Stanitsa Luganskaya at around 6 am today. The man was taken to a hospital and has been operated upon. His life is not reported to be in danger.
Land mines have claimed dozens of lives in the conflict, especially as fighting has slowed, with both soldiers and civilians at risk while moving along the front lines.
Sergei Korotkikh, the reconnaissance commander of the Azov Regiment, told the 112 television channel today that it will take at least 10 years to clear the war-torn village of Shirokino, east of Mariupol, of mines.
Meanwhile Colonel Andriy Lysenko, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, told reporters at noon today that another Ukrainian soldier had been wounded over the last 24 hours.
The soldier was wounded outside Avdeyevka, to the north of Donetsk.
The Ukrainian military’s ATO Press Centre claimed this morning that there had been four ceasefire violations by Russian-backed forces over the last 24 hours.
According to the report, a sniper in separatist-held Spartak, fired on Ukrainian troops to the south of Avdeyevka from around 18:00.
The report says that there were two other attacks near Donetsk and two towards Artyomovsk.
At around 1 am today, Russian-backed fighters attacked a Ukrainian defensive position near Zaytsevo, north-east of Gorlovka, with heavy machine guns and small arms.
— Pierre Vaux