Amnesty International has disclosed that battalions fighting for the Kiev regime in eastern Ukraine are blocking humanitarian aid from entering the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Amnesty reports:
“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,” said Denis Krivosheev, acting Director of Europe and Central Asia for Amnesty International.
“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.”
Battalions such as Dnipro-1, Aidar, and the Pravyi Sector militia are said to have blocked 11 roads leading to the DNR-controlled territory, as they do not feel they should be feeding the same people that they are fighting. However more than half the population of the breakaway republics are now entirely dependent on humanitarian aid, as the Kiev government have closed all banks, hospitals and other social services in these areas. Amnesty continues:
An aid worker from the Luhansk Region has informed Amnesty International that Aidar battalion is also stopping and searching cars that travel from Starobil’sk to Luhansk and vice versa. Members of the battalion, which was previously implicated in arbitrary detention and torture, are reportedly stopping food and medicines getting through to the region.
The aid worker recalled a particular case when medicines for four elderly people in Krasnodon, who are suffering from heart and blood pressure conditions, were snatched from a bus at a checkpoint.
“Checking the content of humanitarian convoys crossing frontline is one thing. Preventing it is another. Attempting to create unbearable conditions of life is a whole new ballgame. Using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is a war crime,” said Denis Krivosheev.
While Krivosheev – acting Director of Europe and Central Asia – says that the dire humanitarian situation in the east is no secret, it is clear that Kiev and its allies are doing their best to cover up what’s going on. With Ukraine about to enforce strict austerity measures on the rest of the country, it probably won’t be long before the new government faces an even larger backlash.