Pro-Kiev volunteer battalions operating in southeastern Ukraine (Donbas) have been increasingly blocking aid supplies to the region and must be brought under control to avert a humanitarian crisis in the area, Amnesty International stressed Wednesday.
Europe Kiev Must Control Battalions Blocking Aid Supplies to Donbas – Amnesty International
“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,” Denis Krivosheev, acting Director of Europe and Central Asia for Amnesty International, said as quoted by the organization Wednesday.
Amnesty International stressed that the volunteer battalions, which «often act like renegade gangs», 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,” the organization said, adding that it is “no secret” that Ukraine’s southeast “is facing a humanitarian disaster with many already at risk of starvation”.
According to Amnesty International, pro-Kiev battalions including Dnipro-1 and Aidar have blocked aid entering the territories of the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk (DPR and LPR).
“The Dnipro-1 volunteer battalion, along with members of Donbass battalion and Pravyi Sector militia, are reported to have blocked 11 roads leading into the DNR[DPR]-controlled territory,” the organization said Wednesday.
A number of volunteer battalions were set up in Ukraine in April when the Kiev government launched a military operation in the country’s southeast against the region’s independence supporters. In November, Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said that the battalions would join the country’s armed forces.
Last week, a UN monitoring mission announced that the actions of Kiev-controlled battalions and the Security Service of Ukraine in the east of the country are in violation of human rights.
Earlier this month, Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), said he was concerned about multiple «abuses» at the hands of the volunteer battalions in Donbas.