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US to Russia: Let Badly Needed Aid Reach Eastern Ukraine

FILE - People unload a truck from a Russian humanitarian aid convoy parked at a warehouse in Makiivka, Ukraine, Sept. 17, 2015.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is urging Russia to honor the Minsk peace deal and allow badly needed humanitarian aid into Ukraine.

"Few relief organizations are able to work in the separatist-controlled areas because ... the separatists suspended and expelled U.N. and international humanitarian organizations in July," Ambassador Samantha Power told the Security Council on Friday.

Power said that only a small fraction of the aid needed by 2 million people in southern Ukraine was getting through and that the situation was getting worse because of the cold winter to come.

The ambassador said major fighting had subsided between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists since a September 1 cease-fire. But she said that daily violations were continuing and that Russia was still breaking international law by occupying Crimea and arming and training the separatists.

Power accused Moscow and the separatists of obstructing international peace monitoring and urged them to allow free elections in eastern Ukraine. She called elections the key to unlocking the Minsk agreements and letting the east peacefully rejoin the rest of Ukraine.

Russia has denied direct involvement in Ukraine and accuses the central government in Kyiv of violating the human rights of Russian speakers in the east.

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