Ukraine needs peace to stop humanitarian disaster -- European Left

The statement below was released by the Party of the European Left (EL) on November 17. The EL is a Europe-wide political party that formed in 2004. It is composed of 26 member parties and seven observer parties. Visit www.european-left.org for more information.

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A delegation of the Party of the European Left (EL), headed by two of its vice presidents, Margarita Mileva and Maite Mola, returned on November 16 after a four-day visit to Kiev.

The trip’s aim was to learn about the situation in Ukraine’s conflict on the ground, in difficult moments such as now when tensions are rising dangerously. Tensions threaten to end the ceasefire between the Ukrainian government and rebels in the east and to restart large-scale combat in the province of Donbass.

The delegation met with activists from social movements, non-governmental organisations, groups in defence of civil and human rights of Kiev and Donbass, with independent journalists and media activists as well as the Communist Party of Ukraine.

After these meetings, the EL demands that the European community take quick action to contribute to ending the civil war in the east of the country and urgently help in tackling the humanitarian catastrophe triggered in Donetsk and Lugansk.

Gas, water and electricity infrastructure have been destroyed in the war zones and, if nothing is done soon, people will start dying of cold when the temperatures drop during winter.

The Kiev government does not pay pensions to retirees in the east. Civil servants have not been paid since June. Workers in the private sector who are paid cannot withdraw money from banks in the province.

This situation threatens to greatly worsen if Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko fulfils threats to close hospitals and schools in Donbass and block the bank accounts of the inhabitants of the region.

The delegation regretted that Poroshenko uses the patriotic mobilisation to divert attention from the economic crisis and social problems suffered by the people of Ukraine.

The EL requests that Poroshenko and the new government work for the peaceful resolution of the conflict and avoid aggravating the humanitarian catastrophe facing the population of Donbass and the citizens displaced by the conflict — something they are not doing now.

The international EL delegation, composed of prominent members of Die Linke (Germany), Dei Lenk (Luxembourg), the Party of Democratic Socialism (Czech Republic), the Workers' Party of Hungary 2006 (Hungary) as well as its two vice presidents, reinforced the EL’s commitment to working for a just and lasting peace.

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