The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission recorded over 8,000 ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine last week. Ninety percent of all recorded use of Minsk-proscribed weapons took place in the Popasna-Pervomaisk area. “The worst of the violence was recorded in places where the sides have moved their positions closer to one another”, reported Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
On the evening of February 22, OSCE monitoring officers recorded about 80 explosions and about 800 shots and bursts attributable to various weapons, as well as 37 minutes of uncountable and overlapping explosions and heavy-machine-gun fire in Popasna area.
“The following evening – on February 23 – and into the early hours of the February 24 – the same monitors in Popasna heard 205 undetermined explosions assessed as caused by artillery rounds, plus an additional 539 explosions assessed as caused by outgoing artillery, mortar or infantry fighting vehicle fire”, added Alexander Hug. Ten explosive rounds fired in close proximity to the OSCE patrol base were assessed as outgoing 120mm mortar rounds.
Last week, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission observed 52 heavy weapons in violation of withdrawal lines – 46 of them in areas not controlled by the government. SMM unmanned aerial vehicle spotted four multiple launch rocket systems near non-government-controlled Miusynsk, one more – near government-controlled Kostiantynivka.
Alexander Hug added that another OSCE SMM unmanned aerial vehicle was attacked last week. “This is the fifth consecutive week in which our unmanned aerial vehicles have been targeted by small-arms fire. Since the beginning of the year, ten of our unmanned aerial vehicles have been targeted by small-arms fire – six times in areas controlled by the government, and four times in areas not controlled by the government”, elaborated Alexander Hug.