The SMM informs about violence level going up in the “usual hotspots” in the Donetsk region. Yet the situation in the neighboring Luhansk region gets relatively calmer.
Kyiv, July 29, 2016. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) reported that the Donetsk region once again saw an increase in violence, with the number of ceasefire violations increasing by 25 percent in comparison to the previous week. This increase in violence was seen in all the usual hotspots, but most apparent in the western and northwestern outskirts of Horlivka and near the Avdiivka-Yasnuvata-Donetsk airport. “A further indication of deterioration was the increased use of artillery. Almost double that which we saw in the previous week; significantly, 90 percent of recorded artillery explosions occurred around Horlivka,” stated Alexander Hug, Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, at a press briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
The situation in the Luhansk region was better than in previous weeks. The SMM reported a 40 percent decrease in ceasefire violations, particularly around the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge. In contrast, the Western Luhansk region experienced heavy violence, with around 170 explosions heard from the Popasna-Kalynove-Pervomaisk region. However, violations and violence in connection with the Minsk Agreements severely limit the SMM’s freedom of movement explained Hug.
Chief Monitor Alexander Hugs, reported that on Monday, the SMM noted small-arms fire at a SMM unmanned aerial vehicle around Kalynove and later near Kadiivka, both of which are controlled by the self-proclaimed “Luhansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”). Later that night, an SMM long-range aerial vehicle crashed while flying over the government controlled Avdiivka for unknown reasons.
Alexander Hug stressed the importance that the “leadership on both sides of the contact line demonstrates their commitment to the ceasefire by communicating publicly the steps they take to deal with violators in their own ranks.” Without this, no accountability will be established, more violations of these agreements will occur, and restrictions on the SMM will continue to tighten.