Humanitarian Crisis on the Eastern Front
By admin February 7, 2017

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In the most recent out-break between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists, the town of Avdiyivka was left with little access to electricity and water with temperatures dropping to 18 Celsius (0 Fahrenheit). Both Ukrainian military and the Russian-backed separatists brought in heavy artillery close to the front line which violates a peace deal which was put into place two years ago. Russia accuses Ukraine for firing heavy weapons in the latest attacks as their way of gaining U.S. support and hopeful involvement in the on-going crisis.

The fighting has left the town with power outages in temperatures that are close to unbearable giving international humanitarian aid organizations a reason for concern of an upcoming humanitarian crisis. The International Committee of the Red Cross has created seven “safety zones” that do have a source of power and water pumping stations. This past Sunday, the fighting slowed enough for 20,000 residents to turn on their lights after a week without any power. The Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has accounted for 7,000 ceasefire violations on February 1st alone. Around 1 million people have been affected by lack of water supply or lack of heating. If the water damage continues, there could potentially be an environmental disaster if the chlorine supply were to leak. During this three-year conflict, approximately 3.8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, while 1.7 million are internally displaced, leaving 4.4 million affected by the conflict. Nearly 231 tons of food has been shipped into the city from neighboring countries.

The weariness of the U.S. continued support leaves Ukraine fearful that with the newest U.S. administration, they will lose their key backers. Even though both parties are close to the front line, neither have crossed and tried to seize territory. To date, approximately 10,000 people have been killed. The rebels seem to be pushing their buttons with testing out exactly how much support Ukraine has from the West. This is all in concordance to the support Ukraine receives from the U.S. and whether or not the support weakens or if the U.S. were to lift sanctions on Moscow.

Furthermore, an official in close relation to the Minsk, stated that this escalation has close ties to the recent “shifts in the geostrategic environment since the election of President Trump in November.” Ukraine looks forward to integrating into the Euro-Atlantic political and economic institutions, however the European Union is facing their own challenges now. If the U.S. were to drop the sanctions on Moscow, then the dangers for Kiev would increase. On January 28th, President Trump and Russian President Putin discussed opportunities for closer unity in his admiration and respect for Putin, however, did not speak of any reference to sanctions when it came to Ukraine. On the other hand, President Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Poroshenko stating that he was ready to resolve the separatist conflict. The primary responsibility through all this lies in Russia’s hands. Sadly, Ukraine does not feel anymore that they can trust the West to protect them from a power-hungry Russia, and from a growing humanitarian crisis that lurks in the corner.

Read More:

Humanitarian crisis ‘possible’ in war-torn Avdiyivka after shelling stops

Frontline town in Ukraine gets breathing space after worst shelling in months

Ukraine Flare-Up Lays Bare Fears in Europe’s East

US will work with Kiev, Moscow to end Ukraine conflict: Trump

Eastern Ukraine city in crosshairs of renewed fighting

Trump’s Ukraine Dilemma

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