1 February 2017
PEAK UKRAINIAN BODY CALLS ON AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT
TO TAKE STRONGER ACTION AS RUSSIAN AGGRESSION ESCALATES IN UKRAINE
The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) today called on the Australian Government to condemn the recent escalation of aggression by Russian-terrorist forces in the Donbas Region in Eastern Ukraine.
In a letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, the AFUO requested that the Australian Government officially demands that the Russian Federation ceases hostilities immediately, and strictly complies with the ceasefire.
AFUO chairman Mr Stefan Romaniw OAM said “The AFUO also calls on the Australian Government to strengthen political, economic and diplomatic pressure on the Kremlin as this dangerous escalation may lead to a humanitarian catastrophe and further escalation of warfare.”
Verified reports confirm continuing attacks in the area of Avdiyivka in Donbas, with the use of heavy artillery and mortars. The most recent attacks occurred in the past two days.
According to the Anti-Terrorist Operation Headquarters and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine reports, Russian troops continue to shell Ukrainian positions, which has resulted in casualties and the destruction of property.
Thousands of residents in Avdiyivka are left without water, electricity and heat. Given the harsh weather conditions and the continuing shelling by militants the humanitarian situation in the area continues to deteriorate.
In its circular, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stated the following:
“These current actions by the Kremlin may qualify as a war crime, a gross violation of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, the unlawful, wanton and extensive destruction of property not caused by military necessity.
The current escalation in the Donbas indicates that the Russian Federation continues to blatantly ignore its obligations under the Minsk Agreement with a view of preventing the stabilization in the Region and in achieving any progress in the security and humanitarian spheres”
“There is no doubt the issue of Russian aggression in Eastern Ukraine has fallen off the radar in light of other international events. We appreciate that the Australian Government is monitoring the situation, however, the time has come again to be far more proactive. Australia must send a strong message to the international community that it condemns Russian aggression and will assist Ukraine to ensure that our common values and principles are not eroded or compromised.” Mr Romaniw said.
Further information contact – Stefan Romaniw 0419 531 255