The United States is deeply concerned over the recent spike in violence in eastern Ukraine around Avdiyivka.
Since January 28, the Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, has reported a dramatic increase in fighting in eastern Ukraine, including attacks with weapons banned by the Minsk agreements signed in 2014 and 2015.
The fighting has caused dozens of Ukrainian military casualties and at least 50 civilian casualties. It has also left approximately 17,000 civilians, including 2,500 children, without water, heat, or electricity.
The UN Security Council expressed its "grave concern" over the "dangerous deterioration" in eastern Ukraine and called for an immediate return to a ceasefire regime. Security Council members also expressed their full support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Nearly 10,000 people, more than half of them civilians, have been killed in Ukraine since the fighting erupted in the spring of 2014 when the Russian military moved to occupy Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. Russia's occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea was preceded by months of pro-Western protests in Ukraine's capital of Kyiv, which ultimately prompted Ukraine's pro-Russian president to abandon his position and flee the country.
In response to Russia's aggression against Ukraine, the United States, the EU, and a number of other countries applied targeted sanctions against Russian individuals, businesses, and officials. These sanctions remain in effect nearly three years later.
To avert a larger humanitarian crisis, the United States calls for an immediate, sustained ceasefire and full and unfettered access for OSCE monitors.
The U.S. also reaffirms its support for full implementation of the Minsk agreements to end the violence in eastern Ukraine and calls for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Crimea.