OSCE: Members of so-called “DPR” shoot from “Grad” missile systems. “LPR” moves heavy weapons to Luhansk for demonstration on May 9


Kyiv, May 7, 2015. International monitors heard several hundred of incoming and outgoing rounds each day while monitoring. On May 2, members of the so-called “DPR” used “Grad” multiple rocket launchers. “This is one of the first times when this type of missile systems was used since the Minsk agreements were signed last February,” said Alexander Hug, Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine during the press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Mr. Hug also noted of the “LPR” militants who move heavy weapons to Luhansk for the Victory Day demonstration on May 9.

Alexander Hug and the OSCE SMM Chief Monitor Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan took part in the Trilateral group meeting, moderating the security working group. “Two major documents – disengagement around Shyrokyne and the Joint Center for Control and Coordination initiative on the withdrawal of tanks and mortars smaller than 100 mm –were the priorities of the discussion,” Mr. Hug said.

However, pro-Russian militants continue their attacks on the contact line. Conflict intensified in Shyrokyne and around the Donetsk airport. “Fighting spread beyond hotspots. Armed incidents occured in places which had enjoyed relative calm,” Mr. Hug said.

The OSCE SMM continues to struggle for freedom of access for its observers. Verification that weapons withdrawn according to the Minsk agreements remain in place is difficult too. Alexander Hug commented: “The use of mortars, tanks and heavy artillery, including the 152 mm artillery devices, are alarming.”

Alexander Hug also told that the mission trains new personnel who will join their colleagues in eastern Ukraine soon. Overall, there are 476 monitors working in Ukraine. According to the statement of the Ambasador Ertugrul Apakan, their number will be increased to 600 until this summer.