After the declared recommitment to the ceasefire taking effect since December 23, 2017, the number of ceasefire violations in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine has significantly decreased. However, there was no single day without ceasefire violations at all. “Since December 28, the OSCE SMM has been recording on average about 500 ceasefire violations every day,” reported Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
“What we are seeing is a well-established pattern of violence that involves sudden sharp decreases in the number of ceasefire violations, followed by a slow but steady rise – in the hundreds – ultimately leading to escalation. Already there are indications that the escalation phase has begun, with almost 2,000 ceasefire violations recorded between 17:00 on Tuesday and 17:00 on Wednesday this week, and over 1,000 in the following 24 hours,” Mr. Hug noted.
In 2017, the OSCE SMM recorded more violations of Minsk agreements than during the year before. The monitors recorded a total of 401,336 ceasefire violations (compared with 320,130 in 2016), 4,065 instances of heavy weapons placed in violation of withdrawal lines (compared with 3,099 in 2016), and 2,422 freedom-of-movement restrictions (compared with 1950 in 2016).