OSCE: We cannot confirm complete withdrawal of heavy weapons

OSCE: We cannot confirm complete withdrawal of heavy weapons
April 09, 2015.

Kyiv, April 9, 2015. International observers cannot issue certificates confirming complete withdrawal of heavy weapons at the demarcation line in the East of Ukraine. However, the monitors verified the withdrawal of heavy weapons by Ukraine after visiting five storage sites with arms, said Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine at the press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

According to Mr. Bociurkiw, Shyrokyne and the area of the Donetsk airport remain the hotspots of the conflict. “Alexander Hug, Deputy Chief Monitor of OSCE SMM will give a press briefing in Mariupol at 18.30 regarding the demilitarization of Shyrokyne” he said. At the same time the OSCE SMM spokesman reiterated the need to provide free and safe access to the monitors across the entire conflict zone. He reminded that a “DPR” militant opened warning fire from heavy machine gun and semi-automatic rifle at the direction of one of the monitors on April 7. Illka Kanerva, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, condemned threats and intimidation aimed at the monitors by Russia-backed militants.

Humanitarian situation in towns close to the combat line is rapidly deteriorating: there is no running water and power supply in the towns of Spartak and Tryokhizbenka. Those pensioners living in frontline villages, such as Katerynivka, cannot travel to get social aid as the transport connection is blocked. Moreover many civilians in the frontline find themselves in constant danger due to the high number of unexploded ordnance. “Agricultural works are about to start, but farmers are afraid of going in the fields. They have seen how mines explode already,” Michael Bociurkiw noted.