Last week the OSCE SMM recorded 3,286 ceasefire violations. Six civilians were injured as a result of hostilities, stated Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, presenting the weekly SMM report at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
The SMM monitors observed weapons in violation of the respective withdrawal lines 86 times, of these 32 in government-controlled and 54 in non-government controlled areas. “Of note, our monitors saw 12 multiple launch rocket systems in Bakhmut, four MLRS near Novoamvrosiivske, and two MLRS near Shymshynivka,” added Mr. Hug. The monitors report having seen military positions with armed men and hardware in civilian areas in Trudovskyi area of Petrovskyi district in so-called “DPR”-controlled Donetsk. They also saw mines all along the contact line, including freshly-laid mines in Zolote disengagement area, in about 120 metres from a so-called “LPR” checkpoint.
According to Alexander Hug, the SMM foresees a serious risk of escalation in the areas where there is a small distance between the sides’ positions and a significant concentration of military hardware. “We saw how the sides have trenches – and in some places, new ones even closer than previous ones – and fortified positions within a few hundred metres of each other in Stanytsia Luhanska, Yasynuvata, Pikuzy and Vodiane. […] Experience has shown – and vindicated our warnings on every occasion – that escalation is inevitable,” he emphasized.