MainPolitical

UK Foreign Office says ceasefire "immediate priority" in Avdiyivka

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson reiterated the UK continues to stand by Ukraine in full support of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

UK Foreign Office says ceasefire "immediate priority" in Avdiyivka

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has urged restraint following the recent escalation of fighting in Avdiyivka, eastern Ukraine and expressed concern about the worsening humanitarian situation.

"Recent days have seen a significant increase in fighting in Donbas, particularly focused around the town of Avdiyivka where the Ukrainians have declared a state of emergency. Over the past few days we have seen a high number of casualties and the humanitarian situation has deteriorated drastically in Adviyivka. Many civilians are without water, electricity and heating while outside temperatures are as low as -20 degrees," he said in a statement.

According to Johnson, "the immediate priority must be security and a full sustained ceasefire", in line with the provisions of the Minsk agreements.

He urged all parties to demonstrate restraint, and help facilitate crucial repairs to restore vital utilities and assist the vulnerable.

"Sanctions against Russia cannot be lifted until the Minsk commitments are fulfilled. The UK continues to stand by Ukraine in full support of its sovereignty and territorial integrity," the Foreign Office quoted him as saying.

The Russian occupation troops have been storming Avdiyivka since 29 January. In the early hours of 31 January, the town was shelled with Grad BM-21 multiple-launch rocket systems.