Kyiv, March 4, 2015 – Self-declared “LPR” and “DPR” forces prevent OSCE observers from monitoring the withdrawal of heavy weapons that is ongoing in accordance with Minsk agreements. The “Luhansk People’s Republic” forces denied access to Kruzhylivka on the Ukraine-Russia border. Also, the “commander” at a “Donetsk People’s Republic checkpoint on the western edge of Shyrokine near Mariupol prevented the monitors from entering the village. The observers managed to see a camouflaged GAZ TIGRA-type armored personnel carrier, with its gun pointing west to the buildings in the town, stated Michael Bociurkiw, OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, during the press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
The OSCE SMM also reports that the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ representative at the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination informed that Ukraine removed MT-12 “Rapira” artillery pieces from the area stretching from the Ukraine-Russia border to government-controlled Zolote. Ukrainian military leadership had drawn up plans to remove other types of artillery already. In the meantime, there is a lot of static military equipment concentrated on both sides of the contact line, particularly in the area of Mariupol.
Mr. Bociurkiw emphasised that the monitors would be able to verify the fact of withdrawal only after they get inventory lists, withdrawal routes and names of sites where these weapons are going to be relocated afterwards. “We cannot verify the withdrawal but can merely state their movement along the contact line. On the other hand, Col. Andriy Lysenko, ATO spokesperson, stated recently that pro-Russian militants imitate the withdrawal, while returning their weapons to the frontline during the night.
Michael Bociurkiw noted that the number of military action has considerably decreased over the last couple of days, yet they still observe isolated attacks. Multiple rocket launchers were used in the area of Donetsk airport. There are also incidents of military engagement near Shyrokyne. “Our mission and the entire OSCE leadership calls for a comprehensive ceasefire to stop the rising death toll. According to the UN report, the number of people died during the conflict has exceeded 6,000,” Mr. Bociurkiw concluded.