Kyiv, January 29, 2016. The wider Horlivka area remains highly volatile. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) has been noting many ceasefire violations in areas to the north-east of the city. On January 20, for example, monitors recorded 43 undetermined explosions there in less than an hour. The SMM also continues to note fighting in Zaitseve. They recorded the use of 82 and 120mm mortars proscribed under the Addendum to the Minsk Package of Measures. That was announced by Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine at the press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “We have also seen a slight increase in violence at Donetsk airport and its neighborhoods”, he added.
According to Mr Hug, the SMM is increasingly observing violence in the Kominternove-Pavlopil-Oktiabr triangle. The SMM noted some “very worrying incidents” there. On January 20, for example, they heard approximately 25 artillery explosions in the vicinity of Kominternove. Mr Hug added that a similar dynamic is at play around Mariinka. “The area holds military value, a key perhaps to unlocking the on-going stand-off in areas to the west and north-west of the city. We know snipers operate there. More worryingly, we have had indications of hardware being deployed and others already there being readied”, he explained. Principal Deputy Chief Monitor reminded that recently the SMM patrol had been fired upon there. “Somebody does not want the SMM seeing what is going on”, he argues.
The SMM also saw 40 tanks, 115 armoured vehicles, 35 artillery pieces, and 50 military-type trucks in the area close to Ternove, controlled by the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) members.
Mr Hug stated that the situation with the SMM freedom-of-movement is getting worse. “We have raised this issue constantly with the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination. Their response has been less than adequate”, he emphasised. According to Alexander Hug, they were also restricted to see what is going on in border areas.