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UN: Human Rights Threatened By Ukraine Cease-Fire Violations

UN officials say they are increasingly worried that a dire human rights situation in parts of eastern Ukraine is likely to deteriorate further because of violations of a February cease-fire agreement.

Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on April 17 that there were reports of an "intensification of fighting, especially in the vicinity of the Donetsk airport and near the village of Shyrokyne" in the Donetsk region.

Shamdasani said mortars, artillery, and tanks "are reportedly extensively used" in violations of the Minsk agreement.

She said the violations were reported by both government forces and Russian-backed separatists.

Shamdasani also said the killings in Kyiv of a former parliament deputy, Oleh Kalashnikov, and of two journalists, Oles Buzyna and Serhiy Sukhobok, were "very disturbing and must result in a swift, independent, and credible investigation."

The UNHCR also has raised the official death toll in the conflict since April 2014 to "at least 6,116 people, both military personnel and civilians."

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