For the fifth consecutive week OSCE Special Monitoring Mission has recorded a decrease in the number of ceasefire violations in the east of Ukraine. However, this can partially be explained by the fact that the OSCE SMM has restricted patrolling following the incident of April 23, when one monitor was killed as the SMM vehicle ran over an explosive device in non-government controlled Pryshyb, said Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
“The restrictions have reduced the geographical scope of our patrols and have entailed a grounding of our mid-range unmanned aerial vehicles. All of which means we are unable to monitor and report on facts, including violations, to the extent that we usually do. […] The OSCE SMM imposed these restrictions in order to protect our unarmed civilian monitors, only the parties can lift them. Only they can remove the threats to our monitors and the wider civilian population,” Mr. Hug stressed.
The monitoring will be restricted by the time when mine security situation improves. “We will restrict our monitoring as long as the sides fail to abide by the Memorandum of September 19, 2014, which expressly prohibits planting mines and other explosive devices, and stipulates that all of these previously laid must be removed. We will continue to restrict our monitoring as long as the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination fails to coordinate mine clearance as was set out in the Trilateral Contact Group decision of March 3, 2016,” stated Alexander Hug.
On April 28 OSCE monitors were threatened with an explosion and small-arms fire close to patrols in Molodizhne and Kruta Hora, both in areas not controlled by the government, said the SMM Principal Deputy Chief Monitor.
Alexander Hug added that the OSCE SMM did not record a single Minsk-proscribed explosion in the Yasynuvata-Avdiivka-Donetsk airport triangle last week.