“We maintain a sense of cautious optimism and hope that sides will exercise good judgment and political will to bring the conflict to an end,” states the OSCE SMM

“We maintain a sense of cautious optimism and hope that sides will exercise good judgment and political will to bring the conflict to an end,” states the OSCE SMM
September 16, 2015.

Kyiv, 16 September 2015 – The situation has not changed a lot since the last week. The SMM continues to observe significant decrease in ceasefire violations. “When these violations took place, they were mostly registered at and around Donetsk Airport,” said Alexander Hug, Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. On some days, the Joint center for control and coordination and so-called “DPR” reported that some explosions were controlled and as a result of unexploded ordinance were destroyed. However, Mr. Hug added that the SMM wasn’t able to verify this information independently.

The SMM reports the area in and around Mariupol, including Shyrokyne, remain calm. “Although tensions remain we welcome the ability of the sides to largely observe the ceasefire for two consecutive weeks. Still with larger concentration of weaponry, including in or near populated areas, we maintain a sense of cautious optimism and hope that sides will exercise good judgment and political will to bring an end to the conflict,” – underlined Mr. Hug.

The SMM observes the military movement, though much of it away from the contact line on Government-controlled territory. To a greater scale, it was observed in Donetsk region, particularly in Artemove, Kirove, Druzhba and near Ulakly.

According to the Deputy Chief Monitor, weapons, including main battle tanks, were moved west. The SMM observed heavy weapon movement in the area of Horlivka and found weapons missing from holding areas at both sides.

Mr. Hug noted that last week Chief Monitor Apakan and the OSCE Secretary General Zannier visited the southern area of Donetsk region. According to Hug, Secretary Zannier “welcomed the holding ceasefire and expressed hope for progress on the political level to end the fighting”.

Alexander Hug also stated that people living near the conflict line continue to suffer hardships. Among them, the SMM observes long queues at checkpoints, poor humanitarian conditions of some people who have to rely on food and drinking water from soldiers; hospital lack medicines, supplies and food; lack of gas for heating in some towns before the upcoming winter season.

At the end of the briefing, Mr. Hug announced that OSCE Special Monitoring Mission latest thematic report on access to water in the conflict-affected areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions would be presented this coming Friday.

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