Kyiv, February 19, 2015 – International observers could not reach Debaltseve due to consistent shelling of the area by Russian-backed militants. One of the Donetsk People’s Republic warlords has warned the OSCE representatives that he would not be able to guarantee safety of the monitoring mission. Michael Bociurkiw, press-secretary of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, told this during the press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “We strictly condemn any attempts to change the delineation line from the one agreed upon during negotiations in Minsk on February 12,” Mr. Bociurkiw said.
The situation around Debaltseve remains of major concern. Michael Bociurkiw urged all groups of pro-Russian militants to cease firing on the devastated city immediately. “Minsk agreements are not a shopping list, but a comprehensive treaty. All sides should start the implementation of the peace plan,” Mr. Bociurkiw said. International monitors observed that it is the forces of the self-declared “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic” that violate the ceasefire regime.
The OSCE mission also did not monitor the withdrawal of heavy weaponry, which was outlined as one of the main requirements of Minsk agreements. There were just military manoeuvres in the conflict zone so far.
Mr. Bociurkiw emphasized that the humanitarian situation in the Donetsk region is getting increasingly worse. The lives of innocent people who are still in Debaltseve are in mortal danger. Residents of Krasnohorivka are left without electricity and gas supply for 12 days; five schools were devastated, while the only hospital stopped functioning two weeks ago. Administrative buildings and a school in Kominternove had been severely damaged as well.