Kyiv, December 31, 2015. Eastern Ukraine is far quieter now, than it was at the beginning of last year. There has been progress, also in the form of conclusion of the Minsk Package of Measures, which has yielded some results in the field. A number of weapons have been withdrawn, so there are less heavy weapons in operation than there used to be at the beginning of the year. “Buy yet again, this process has by far not progressed in the way it should”, stated Alexander Hug, Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Ukraine at the press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Nevertheless, according to him, the violations are always centered on some hotspots. These hotspots are always the same: Donetsk Airport, Horlivka, as well as Shchastia and Stanytsia Luhanska.
With regard to the situation in Kominternove, Mr. Hug stated that it was a clear violation of the Minsk agreement. “The ceasefire was broken by both sides; weapons were used with the intent to establish control over areas where previously there was no armed presence,” he added. There the Mission’s monitors registered the use of weapons proscribed by the addendum to the Minsk agreement. According to Hug, weapons have been used throughout the year in Shyrokene, Debaltse and Horlivka or other places along the contact line. “Before the withdrawal of heavy weapons is not completed, we cannot speak about a full implementation of these measures of the Minsk agreement. Before the withdrawal of heavy weapons is not completed, it will be much harder, if not impossible, to establish a complete and resilient ceasefire,” argued Alexander Hug.
According him, the events in and around Kominternove also worsened the freedom of movement in the region. Another large problem, monitored in Kominternove is a large and widespread presence of mines and unexploded ordinances. “We have also seen new mines in government-controlled Marinka and the so-called “Donestk People’s Republic” – controlled Yasynuvata,” added Hug.
He also added that at this moment, the SMM has 551 people working in the conflict zone of Eastern Ukraine.