Kyiv, March 19, 2015. Ukrainian Armed Forces are leading by example by giving access for the OSCE observers to some of the sites where the heavy weapons, which were withdrawn according to Minsk agreements, are stored. Alexander Hug, Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, told this during the press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. According to Mr. Hug, “DPR” and “LPR” militants restrict freedom of movement for the monitors. Most of the movements in the militant-held areas should be pre-arranged and even escorted by the militant forces. “We still cannot verify the fact of heavy weapons withdrawal, since we did not get complete inventory lists of weapons that the belligerents have,” he noted.
Alexander Hug stressed that all sides have to provide free and unfettered access to the monitors in accordance with the Minsk agreements. “We have to have a free access to the buildings, factories, mines, go into forests and look under bridges to dismantle allegations from both sides that somebody hides weapons near the contact line,” he explained. Mr. Hug told that although the ceasefire generally holds, areas such as Shyrokyne and those around the Donetsk airport remain the hotspots of the conflict.
Alexander Hug also informed that the OSCE mission’s mandate to work in Ukraine has been extended for the next 12 months, while the number of staff might be increased to 1,000. Currently, 460 OSCE staff members work in Ukraine, 350 of them are engaged in the monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine.