OSCE SMM registers highest number of ceasefire violations since the beginning of 2016 – Alexander Hug


Over the last week the Mission observed drastic increase of violence in the eastern Ukraine. Part of the Mariupol sector between Maryinka and Popasna stands as the tensest area.

Over the last week the number of ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine increased one and a half times. It is the highest number since the beginning of this year. Almost three and a half thousand explosions were made from mortars, tanks or multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), said Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Ukraine speaking at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “This represents a dramatic increase in the use of these Minsk-proscribed weapons, a six-fold increase on the previous week. It was, in fact, the highest number of such explosions ever recorded,” Hug noted.

He said almost two thirds of these explosions made with the use of banned weapons were registered in the western part of Luhansk region. “In areas around Novozvanivka, Kalynove, Veselohorivka and Troyitske our monitors witnessed particularly violent night-time artillery and MLRS exchanges,” Hug reported. Over the last week monitors registered 2,148 explosions from artillery, 113 from multiple rocket launchers and 55 from mortar mines.

Alexander Hug noted that majority of ceasefire violations except for the ones near Mariupol are happening along the arch that stretches between Maryinka and the northern-eastern area near Popasna. Many of the populated centers are located along that arch. In Popasna and in Pikuzy village OSCE monitors registered heavily damaged houses. The damages were caused by 120-mm mortar rounds, Hug explained.

He emphasized that the sides must fully implement the agreements on disengagement of forces and equipment. “We know that disengagement works. Last week in the disengagement areas in Petrivske and Zolote we recorded no ceasefire violations,” he said.