Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Pro-Russia rebels in eastern Ukraine 'use ambulances to move fighters

Human Rights Watch report says rebels expropriated emergency vehicles, and criticises both sides for using imprecise weaponry

Shaun Walker in Kiev and Alec Luhn in Moscow
The Guardian, Monday 4 August 2014

Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine have expropriated ambulances to transport able-bodied fighters and threatened medical staff, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report due out on Tuesday.

The organisation, which has also criticised pro-Kiev forces for using imprecise Grad rockets in civilian areas, found a number of instances of rebels stationing fighters at hospitals, seizing or destroying medical equipment and using ambulances to transport fighters.

"Pro-Russian insurgents' attacks on medical units and personnel are putting sick and vulnerable people and those who care for them at risk," said Yulia Gorbunova, HRW's Europe and Central Asia researcher. "This appalling disregard of people who are sick or wounded can be deadly and needs to stop immediately."

The organisation called on Moscow to use its leverage to prevent the abuse of medical equipment and facilities.

(More here.)

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