Kyiv, November 28, 2014. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine continues to observe the security and humanitarian situation in the country. The OSCE calls for the cease fire agreed upon in Minsk to be respected by all parties to the conflict in southeastern Ukraine. Among other developments, the OSCE mission in Ukraine observed significant numbers of unmarked vehicles and fighters in rebel-controlled territory. This was stated at Ukraine Crisis Media Center by Michael Bociurkiw, the spokesman for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (MM).
The OSCE has observed instances of unmarked vehicle convoys and armed individuals coming from the east towards the city of Donetsk. These vehicles carried weapons, including artillery. Due to the cease fire agreement, “one would have expected by now that we would have seen that pull back of weaponry,” said Bociurkiw. Unfortunately, the OSCE is not in a position to state where these unmarked fighters and convoys are coming from. “We ask others to draw conclusions” about the origin of these convoys, stated Bociurkiw.
Moreover, the OSCE has noted a deteriorating humanitarian situation in southeast Ukraine. As the weather becomes colder, the number of IDPs is increasing in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Fighting continues and people are fleeing the front lines. The elderly, disabled, and children are particularly vulnerable. In some areas, lack of access to medical supplies and public utilities are problematic. “It is important for the international community to be aware of this worsening situation,” stated Bociurkiw.
At the moment, there are 322 monitors from 40 countries working in 10 Ukrainian cities. Roughly half of these monitors are stationed in the conflict zone of eastern Ukraine. Bociurkiw reported three recent troubling situations in which OSCE monitors were subject to gun fire. Most recently, monitors were fired upon by small arms, grenades, and rockets while travelling between two Ukrainian-controlled checkpoints. Luckily, no one sustained any injuries. OSCE called for the Ukrainian government and armed groups to ensure the safety of OSCE monitors in Ukraine. “Monitors must be promised security and freedom of movement,” said Bociurkiw.
The conflict in Ukraine has already cost many lives, and the OSCE calls for the complete implementation of the cease fire by pulling heavy weapons back from the front lines.