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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day 585
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
'People's Republics' in Donbass Expel, Stall UN and NGO Relief Agencies
6 years
4 Ukrainian Soldiers And 1 Civilian Wounded By Mines In The Lugansk Region

UN humanitarian agencies operating in Lugansk Region have been expelled by officials from the self-proclaimed "Lugansk People's Republic," Reuters reported.

Yesterday September 24, UN humanitarian aid chief Stephen O'Brien said:

"I am alarmed by news that the de facto authorities in eastern Ukraine have ordered U.N. agencies in Luhansk to end operations and to leave the area by tomorrow, 25 September.

I am also extremely concerned by the situation regarding accreditation and registration of international NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in Donetsk. A decision by the de facto authorities in Donetsk on the U.N.'s future operations remains on hold, and all U.N. agency operations have been suspended."

According to a report from RFE/RL based on wire service reports, Bart Janssens, director of operations of the non-governmental organization Doctors without Borders (MSF), one of 10 groups  targeted for expulsion by the "Lugansk People's Republic" said the move was "unacceptable given the significant medical and humanitarian needs of people affected by the ongoing conflict in Luhansk":

"MSF has been one of the few international organizations providing vital assistance in Luhansk for more than a year," MSF Director of Operations Bart Janssens said in a statement on September 25. "We have been dedicated to supporting doctors and nurses to be able to carry on their crucial work."

Russian-backed separatist authorities rejected the accreditation applications of 10 organizations, only accepting an 11th, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), although the ICRC had been cited for "fire safety regulations" earlier this month.

The Czech-based People in Need Foundation was among those expelled for "grave violations" which were not explained, said a representative.

In May, workers from the International Rescue Committee were first kidnapped for 10 days by separatists, then expelled.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick