OSCE: “DPR” members restrict access and use observers to rotate forces

OSCE: “DPR” members restrict access and use observers to rotate forces
April 30, 2015.

Kyiv, April 30, 2015. Over the last few days “DPR” members have restricted access for the international observers to the village of Shyrokyne. Moreover, militants have used the presence of the observers to rotate their forces in and out of the village, using them as a protecting guarantor, stated Alexander Hug, Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine during the press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

Alexander Hug told that a series of meetings took place in the Joint Center for Control and Coordination as well as a video meeting of the trilateral contact group in the last two weeks, discussing the demilitarization of Shyrokyne. The plan involves complete withdrawal of weapons and military formations from by all belligerents. “We are welcoming the change of the military logic with a civilian one. The demilitarization plan is not about losing territories, but getting the forces away,” Mr. Hug has emphasized.

The monitors visited 40 residents who still reside in Shyrokyne. “The village is without electricity and water. Every meter is littered with unexploded ordnances,” Mr. Hug said. Back in mid-April, the OSCE SMM has succeeded in brokering a ceasefire that lasted up to 70 hours. However, recently fighting in the area resumed. “I was under shelling. We saw that weapons banned by Minsk agreements are still used,” he said.

Members of the OSCE SMM inspected several frontline villages. One of them was Staromaryvka, Donetsk region, in which only 80 people out of the pre-conflict population of 370 have stayed in the village. “The United Nations estimates costs of recovery to be $1.5bn,” Alexander Hug concluded.