Normandy Four parties agree on a roadmap in Berlin while the hostilities in Eastern Ukraine continue – Ministry of Defense  

Normandy Four parties agree on a roadmap in Berlin while the hostilities in Eastern Ukraine continue – Ministry of Defense   
October 24, 2016.

Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the involved parties will produce a detailed road map to disengage forces, OSCE shall continue monitoring and potentially will receive reinforcement, although ceasefire violations continue in the “usual flashpoints”. 

As a result of Normandy Four talks in Berlin, Ukrainian initiative to set up a roadmap with clear dates and sequence of actions to fulfil Minsk agreements has succeeded. It is expected that the roadmap is prepared by the Minsters of Foreign Affairs of the four states by the end of November. “Security dimension of Minsk agreements includes complete and sustainable ceasefire along the entire frontline and disengagement of forces and military hardware in three sites – Zolote, Petrivske and Stanytsia Luhanska. The list of disengagement areas could be extended to four other places if the pilot project succeeds,” said Vilyen Pidgornyy, Ministry of Defense spokesperson, presenting a weekly military report at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Ukraine insists on the de-militarization of Debaltseve and its suburbs, as of September 19, 2014, when the area was controlled by Ukrainian troops.

OSCE

The parties agreed on the need for an armed OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in disengagement areas that would work there 24/7, for the purposes of monitoring and verification of ceasefire. “Access of the armed OSCE mission to the whole of the occupied territories also remains an essential prerequisite to monitor local elections there.

Yet, we want to reiterate – any kind of elections governed by the Ukrainian law are possible only after all security clauses of Minsk agreements are fulfilled,” noted Mr Pidgornyy. He stressed that albeit the role OSCE mission to play as security guarantor at the areas of Ukraine-Russia border, which are not currently controlled by the Ukrainian government, this action should be a temporary measure before the Government of Ukraine restores control over the whole border.

Data on ceasefire violations

At the backdrop of Normandy Four talks in Berlin, Russia-backed militias continue to violate the cease-fire throughout the whole week. According to MoD spokesman, Luhansk and Mariupol sectors in the ATO zone remained the major sites of military action, while smaller number of hostile activities was registered in the Donetsk sector. The number of ceasefire violations varies from 57 on October 18, to the 29 on October 17. On top of that, the militants continue actively using heavy weapons.

Mariupol sector was the subject to the largest number of hostile attacks, use of heavy weapons and the most extensive area of ceasefire violations. “Most of them focused along the front that stretches from Krasnohorivka and Maryinka all the way to Pavlopil and Shyrokyne village, located on the Azov Sea coast,” Mr Pidgornyy stated. Also during the previous week, Ukrainian troops clashed with Russia-backed militants near Vodiane and Hranitne. It was also Mariupol sector, where the week`s most intensive enemy shelling was recorded on October 17. “Within 2 and half hours, the militants fired at Ukrainian positions in Vodiane about 182 rounds from 122-mm artillery”, he elaborated.

According to spokesman, in the Luhansk sector, Novooleksandrivka and Novozvanivka were the two major flashpoints. The militants also violated ceasefire systematically close to Stanytsia Luhanska in October 17, 19, 20, 21. By contrast, the number of ceasefire violations in the Donetsk sector was significantly lower. “The militants’ activities have been focused on the areas of Avdiivka, Horlivka and Svitlodarsk. It was relatively quiet in the area of the Donetsk airport,” he followed.

According to Mr Pidgornyy, that last week, one Ukrainian serviceman was killed in action, 20 were wounded in action and four more suffered concussions. This includes the two wounded as a result of booby traps explosions.

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