Kyiv, January 29, 2015 – International patrol of the OSCE observes departed to Debaltseve in order to observe the evacuation of women, children and the elderly from the city that suffers from daily attacks. Michael Bociurkiw, OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine spokesman, told this during the press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Residents of Debaltsevo were left without heating, water and power supply for the last six days. “Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, Chief Monitor of the OSCE SMM in Ukraine, expressed his deep concern due to the intensified military conflict and expansion of the unstable zone,” Mr. Bociurkiw said.
Mr. Bociurkiw also emphasized that the shelling of Mariupol on January 24 was a reckless, indiscriminate and disgraceful attack on innocent civilians, including women and children. According to the OSCE and the UN, the humanitarian situation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions continues to deteriorate. “More than 5,000 were killed and 10,000 got wounded because of the military confrontation. The number of internally displaced persons has exceeded 1 million. Overall, around 5 million people were affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine,” Mr. Bociurkiw said.
The OSCE SMM spokesman reminded that their main function is gathering of information and facilitation of negotiations aimed for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. “International observers collect only verified information. Currently, 372 observers are engaged in the mission. UN Security Council, as well as governments, diplomats and journalists around the world use our daily reports as a credible source of information,” Mr. Bociurkiw said.
He said that international observers also take part in facilitating localized ceasefires. Members of the mission have brokered a ceasefire between the Ukrainian soldiers and groups of self-declared republics near Pavlopil (south of Donetsk region), so that local residents could leave to safety.
Michael Bociurkiw urged both sides of the conflict to resume ceasefire and stop endangering the lives of peaceful citizens. “All belligerents have to return to consultations and fulfil every clause of the Minsk Agreements immediately,” the OSCE representative concluded.