During May 15-21, OSCE Special Monitoring Mission recorded a 40 per cent decrease in the number of ceasefire violations in the conflict zone in the east of Ukraine. “The number of SMM-recorded explosions attributable to Minsk-proscribed weapons, namely tanks, mortars, artillery, including MLRS, decreased even more, as last week we recorded 144 explosions attributable to such weapons: 20 from MLRS, 48 from other artillery systems and 76 from mortars. Two weeks ago, during May 8-14, we have recorded 815 such explosions in total, 434 – from MLRS, 304 from other artillery and 77 from mortars,” reported Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Alexander Hug. He added that these figures do not reflect the full picture, as since the death of OSCE monitor in Pryshyb, non-controlled by the government, where SMM car ran over a landmine, the SMM restricted patrolling.
According to SMM information, there were six civilian casualties last week, one of them died. The week before, the monitors confirmed 16 cases, including five fatalities; four of the latter were killed in a shelling in Avdiivka. Over the period of May 8-21 over 81 per cent of civilian casualties resulted from shelling, almost 14% from small arms fire and almost five per cent – from mines and unexploded ordnance. “Since the beginning of this year as of May 24 we have confirmed 225 civilian casualties: 44 killed, 181 injured,” said Alexander Hug. These figures do not include information about casualties that is being checked. In the same period last year the monitors confirmed 107 civilian casualties.
Alexander Hug called the sides to respect their commitments in the framework of Minsk agreements, such as demining action and prohibition to plant new mines, withdrawal of Minsk-proscribed weapons, prohibition to deploy weaponry in and fire from residential areas of cities and villages. He also called to avoid using incidents with injuries and deaths of civilians as a picture for cameras.