Donbas Humanitarian Crisis
by Stephen Lendman
US-supported Kiev putschists want Donbas residents starved to death.
On Christmas eve, Amnesty International (AI) headlined “Eastern Ukraine: Humanitarian disaster as food aid blocked.”
More on AI’s report below. Russia is Donbas’ lifeline. Donetsk Oblast has about 4.4 million people. Lugansk Oblast around 2.2 million.
According to UN figures, around 5.2 million Ukrainians live in conflict zones. About 1.4 million are especially vulnerable. Requiring ongoing humanitarian assistance. Especially in winter.
On January 8, Russia’s 11th humanitarian convoy arrived in Donetsk and Lugansk. Over 120 trucks carried food, medicines, other supplies and presents for children commemorating Orthodox Christmas.
Since August, Russia delivered around 13,400 tons of humanitarian aid. Vitally needed. Well short of what’s needed. Conditions are desperate. According to AI:
“Pro-Kyiv volunteer battalions are increasingly blocking humanitarian aid into eastern Ukraine in a move…exacerbating a pending humanitarian crisis…”
AI’s Europe and Central Asia director Denis Krivosheev was blunt saying:
“As winter sets in, the already desperate situation in eastern Ukraine is being made even worse by the volunteer battalions preventing food aid and medicine from reaching those in need.”
“It is no secret that the region is facing a humanitarian disaster with many already at risk of starvation.”
“These battalions often act like renegade gangs and urgently need to be brought under control.”
“Denying food to people caught up in a conflict is against international law and the perpetrators must be held to account.”
Starving civilians “as a method of warfare is a war crime.” Over a million Donbas residents were forced from their homes.
OCHA reports about 610,000 civilians uprooted. Another 584,000 displaced as refugees.
Kiev launched US-backed aggression in April 2014. UN authorities estimate over 4,700 deaths. Another 10,300 wounded. Numbers affected are likely higher. Increasing daily.
Fighting remains ongoing. Illegitimate oligarch president Petro Poroshenko’s so-called “silence regime” exists in name only.
Vowing to crush Donbas democracy. Institute hardline rule. Target anyone resisting Kiev ruthlessness.
Donbas conditions are horrific. Kiev periodically cuts off water and electricity. In areas it doesn’t control.
Residents without financial resources can’t buy essentials. AI reported Dnipro-1, Aidar, and other pro-Kiev battalions blocking roads into Donetsk People’s Republic controlled areas.
Lugansk affected the same way. Denying most aid convoys entry. At least four humanitarian foundation Rinat Akrmetov missions were blocked.
Deputy Dnipro-1 battalion commander Vladimir Manko said:
“We don’t have any control on the other side. It turns out that we’re at war with them, and we’re spilling out blood, but at the same time we’re feeding them.”
According to AI:
“Over half of the population in these areas is now entirely dependent on food aid as wages, pensions and social benefits are not being paid regularly as a result of the conflict that began in (April).”
“The decision of the Ukrainian authorities in Kyiv to essentially cut off the region from the Ukrainian financial system in November is also contributing to the hardship of the local population.”
UN High Commissioner for Refugees spokesman William Spindler expressed special concern for Donbas’ elderly.
Their pensions and transfer payments were sent to government controlled areas. Denying them funds vitally needed to survive.
UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) officials estimate over 1.7 million children affected by Donbas crisis conditions. At least 130,000 were displaced.
Conflict destroyed, damaged or forced the closure of 150 schools. In September, about 50,000 children weren’t able to resume their studies.
UNICEF estimates over $32 million needed to help Donbas children survive winter. Warm clothes, shelter, hygiene supplies and medicines are urgently needed.
Its Central & Eastern Europe and Central Asia regional director Marie-Pierre Poirier said:
“It is essential that children are able to return to school and resume their education. Children continue to bear the brunt of this conflict, with schooling disrupted and access to basic services limited.”
“Some are witness to violent fighting and shelling. We remind all parties to the conflict in Ukraine to ensure all children are protected from the ongoing violence.”
Many fleeing for safety come to Russia. The International Organization for Migration estimates Moscow spent over $100 million since April aiding around 900,000 refugees.
Czech President Milos Zerman lambasted illegitimate Ukrainian prime minister Arsenil Yatsenyuk. Calling him “a prime minister of war.”
Based on “statements” he made. “(H)e does not want a peaceful solution to the crisis…” He wants things resolved “by the use of force.”
He wants resistance crushed. Diplomatic efforts are meaningless. Kiev won’t compromise. Democracy is verboten. Hardline rule is official policy.
“Maidan was not a democratic revolution,” said Zeman. “Ukraine is in a state of civil war.”
Thousands are dead. Many more wounded. Mostly defenseless civilians. Hundreds of thousands displaced.
No end of conflict looms. Kiev deplores peace. Fighting continues. Voice of Sevastopol (VoS) reported Kiev artillery fire on militia positions.
“(O)n the feast of the Orthodox Christmas (January 7). Holiday spirit didn’t “prevent Ukrainian security forces from shelling the cities of Donbas,” said VoS.
“Gunfire did not cease in Donetsk and suburbs most of the day.” Ukraine’s military shelled Gorlovka. Artillery struck between Yenakiyevo and Uglegorsk.
French people mourn for Charlie Hebdo victims. So do others worldwide. MSM express grief.
Who grieves for Ukrainian victims? The dead, dying, injured, maimed for life and displaced. The millions suffering horrifically.
Who notices their ordeal? Who cares? Radicalized Islamic killings in Western countries matter. They’re deplored.
Imperial slaughter is OK. Ongoing daily. In multiple US-dominated war theaters. Endorsed or ignored. Mounting body counts go unnoticed.
Twelve Paris deaths are tragic. So are several other Parisian ones following Wednesday’s killings.
How do they compare to the millions US-dominated NATO slaughtered post-9/11? Innocent imperial victims.
Unseen. Unnoticed. Unmentioned. Monied interests alone matter. Mass human life loss a small price to pay. Too small to attract MSM concern.
How many millions suffer horrifically out of sight and mind? Who’s concerned if they live or die?
Who explains their ordeal? Who commits for responsible change? Who cares about what matters most?
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.