Firefighters extinguish a house burned as a result of shelling between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels in Oktyabrsky village, near Donetsk, on Aug. 12. (Aleksey Filippov/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

The Aug. 9 editorial “An untenable position” recommended Kiev continue isolating the rebel-controlled provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine. The area is home to 3 million people, or, more specifically, 3 million Ukrainian citizens. The United Nations classified 1.4 million of them as “highly vulnerable and in need of assistance.” The majority of those left inside the blockade are the old, the infirm and the financially destitute — the ones who can’t leave.

These people are not terrorists or Russian collaborators. They are Ukrainian citizens, and their only crime is having the misfortune of living in what became a war zone. Their dead friends and relatives make up the lion’s share of the 7,000 casualties in this conflict. They continue to die from lack of access to food and medicine. International aid organizations keep issuing warnings about a looming humanitarian catastrophe in the next few months.

Twenty-five years ago, my family was stuck in then-Soviet Ukraine. We had nothing, and the West, including the United States, helped us and hundreds of thousands of other refugees even though we were technically “Soviet puppets,” born on the wrong side of the line. Today is a different story. Isolating a region for geopolitical considerations is one thing; withholding life-saving supplies from innocent civilians is quite another.

Lev Golinkin, East Windsor, N.J.