The OSCE SMM recorded over 1,200 ceasefire violations in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine last week. This is 85 percent fewer that the week before. “The decrease in the use of weapons that should have been withdrawn in accordance with the Minsk agreements was even more dramatic; we observed a 94 percent decrease in the number of times they were used last week, compared to the week before,” reported Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. However, in the past few days, he noted, the OSCE monitors have seen a steady rise in the number of ceasefire violations.
Last week, the OSCE SMM observed 42 weapons in violation of agreed withdrawal lines – 26 in areas not controlled by the Government and 16 in areas controlled by the Government. The SMM monitors also reported about multiple mines on both sides of the contact line.
Alexander Hug also expressed concern about proximity of the sides’ positions in a number of areas. “Sometimes just a short stretch of road or a field separates them, as is the case in and around Travneve and Dolomitne. And we know from experience, where there is little distance separating the sides on the ground, there is little difference between the calm and the storm that follows,” he noted.
Last week, the OSCE SMM, for the first time in a long time, has confirmed no civilian casualties. “We have so far this year recorded 150 civilian casualties – 29 killed and 121 injured,” said Alexander Hug.