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The increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles by the armed forces of Ukraine to launch indiscriminate attacks on the cities and villages of the Donetsk People’s Republic is an outrageous manifestation of overt aggression and is extremely alarming.

On August 28, an unmanned aerial vehicle was launched twice from Ukrainian positions in the direction of the urban-type settlement Staromikhailovka to launch improvised explosive devices. On August 30, as a result of the Ukrainian UAV attack, residential buildings and outbuildings in the town of Golmovsky were damaged. Two more Ukrainian UAVs were shot down on September 1 as they were approaching the city of Gorlovka and the village of Kominternovo, Novoazovsk region.

The attacks are increasingly causing the destruction of housing and civilian infrastructure, as well as fire, which poses additional threats to the life and health of civilians. In the context of ongoing shelling, fire incidents cannot be immediately eliminated sometimes, and arriving fire brigades often come under attack. In particular, on September 1, during extinguishing in the village of Kominternovo, as a result of targeted shelling, a fire truck of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the DPR burned down.

These and other incidents of attacks aimed at the destruction of the civilian population and civilian infrastructure of Donbass are gross violations of international humanitarian law. The lack of an immediate and adequate response from international human rights organizations to such illegal practices of the Ukrainian side is unacceptable and leads to a further escalation of violence in the region. The impunity of these provocative actions by the Ukrainian armed forces entails a critical deterioration in the social and humanitarian situation and undermines the basis of peaceful settlement of the conflict.

I underline the need for a more proactive stance by the international community, using all available mechanisms to influence official Kiev in order to prevent the further use of prohibited methods and means of warfare. In addition, I demand that the Ukrainian side conduct an effective investigation of these incidents, which qualify as war crimes, as well as punish all those responsible, as provided for by the agreements reached, the legislation of Ukraine and its international obligations.

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