Last week, the OSCE SMM recorded almost 6,000 ceasefire violations in the conflict zone in the east of Ukraine, reported Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
According to him, the SMM is particularly concerned with the situation in the Trudivske neighborhood in Petrovskyi district of Donetsk city and neighboring Krasnohorivka, where there are frequent artillery and mortar exchanges between these two urban areas. Several of them resulted in casualties among civilians. On June 3, an elderly woman was injured (in Krasnohorivka), on 4 June a nine-year-old boy sustained shrapnel injuries and his mother was killed in the same attack. The SMM monitors also report about escalation in areas along the P66 road in Luhansk region, especially around the settlement of Zholobok. “On Monday and Tuesday this week we recorded a serious escalation, with levels of violence not seen in that area since March. In less than an hour on Tuesday, for instance, our monitors in Sentianivka (formerly Frunze) recorded about 480 explosions caused by artillery fire and about 1,700 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire,” Alexander Hug noted.
The monitors spotted 28 Minsk-proscribed weapons in violation of the withdrawal lines: five in government controlled areas, and 23 in the areas controlled by so-called “LPR” and “DPR”. Mr. Hug added that the sides still did not implement the decision of the Trilateral Contact Group on mine action of 3 March 2016, prescribing that mines all along the contact line must be removed or at least fenced off and marked.
Last week, SMM patrols had their freedom of movement restricted 14 times: 11 times in areas not controlled by the Government and three times in areas controlled by the Government. In several cases, the monitors faced intimidation. “On Wednesday this week, for instance, an SMM patrol in the Novoazovsk area of Donetsk region – very close to the border with the Russian Federation – was physically prevented from moving. Seven vehicles – all without license plates and occupied by armed men, some of whom wore masks – surrounded the patrol. The unarmed civilian monitors were boxed in for about 20 minutes before being released and ordered to leave the area,” elaborated Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE SMM.