UN warns Ukraine against use of ‘excessive force’


The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on the Ukrainian authorities to refrain from using “excessive force” against civilians.

Navi Pillay said on Thursday that she was very concerned about the ongoing violence in Ukraine.

She also warned that authorities in Kiev must refrain from taking any discriminatory steps aimed at causing damage to peaceful citizens in conflict-hit pro-Russia regions.

Pillay said a human rights delegation was on a monitoring mission in Ukraine and would submit its report on the country’s situation in mid-June.

She also expressed hope that the UN mission would be able to mediate a breakthrough in the deadlock.

The UN appeal comes at a time when civilians have been caught up in the cross-fire between the Ukrainian forces and fighters in the pro-Russia east.

Several people reportedly lost their lives in fresh fighting in the eastern Ukrainian region of Lugansk on Wednesday.

According to Ukrainian officials, the clashes broke out when pro-Russia protesters in Lugansk attempted to seize a military unit in the flashpoint region.

On May 26, at least 35 people were reportedly killed as a truck carrying injured people was hit by a grenade in Ukraine’s eastern city of Donetsk.

Donetsk and Lugansk declared independence on May 12 following local referendums in which the regions’ residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Kiev.

The referendums followed a similar vote in Crimea in March that led to the reunification of the peninsula with the Russian Federation.

Fighting broke out in eastern Ukraine last month after Kiev launched a military offensive against pro-Russia groups that have seized over a dozen towns.

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