Kyiv, April 16, 2015. A relative ceasefire in Shyrokyne, which has been established in the last few days, can turn into a gradual demilitarization of the region. Several families of IDPs used this opportunity to return to the village and check on their property. However, there is still a grave danger to the lives of the people due to the large numbers of unexploded ordnances in the area. The situation is exacerbated by a complete lack of the running water, food and medicine. “Some of the residents told us they had to drink rain water,” said Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission during the press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
The dire humanitarian situation persists in other settlements in eastern Ukraine as well. “We have visited Rovenky and Novodaryivka in the Luhansk region; there is an acute shortage of food and medical drugs. Many residents are forced to sell their personal belongings and clothes in order to buy food,” the OSCE SMM spokesman said. He also told that a lot of civilians are deprived from state social aid because of the military action.
International observers have observed a number of ceasefire violations mostly in the towns around Donetsk airport such as Avdiivka, Pisky, Spartak and Zhabunki. Michael Bociurkiw said the number of incoming and outgoing explosions has exceeded several hundred. “We have observed more than 500 explosions from anti-aircraft guns, heavy machine guns, small arms, mortars and tanks,” he said.
According to the UN, 6,108 people have died and more than 1,2 million of people were forced to leave their homes throughout the yearlong military conflict; 636,000 of them fled to Russia and around 80,000 to Belarus.
Mr. Bociurkiw refuted allegations that the OSCE SMM observers are spying for the pro-Russian militants, stressing that every member of the mission is supposed to go through an intensive training course in Vienna and Kyiv before going into the field. “Our employees realize they are representing an international organization and not their respective countries,” he concluded.