Last week the OSCE SMM recorded over 7,400 ceasefire violations in the Eastern Ukraine. The use of weapons that should have been withdrawn has significantly increased – up 48 percent on the week before. OSCE observers were restricted last week 34 times. 20 times in areas not controlled by the Government; 14 times in areas controlled by the Government, reported Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Last week SMM observed personnel and hardware on both sides of the contact line inside both the Stanytsia Luhanska and Zolote disengagement areas. “Last week on both sides of the contact line we observed 47 weapons in violation of agreed withdrawal lines. And everywhere, we observed the failure of the sides to de-mine”, said Alexander Hug.
Moreover, militants imposed active movement restrictions on OSCE observers. Such restrictions bring the total so far this year to 327 – 27 in areas controlled by the Government and 300 in areas not controlled by the Government.
“Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) last week experienced what appeared to be electronic jamming on four occasions”, elaborated Mr. Hug. On 8 June, a surface-to-air missile system in non-government-controlled Holmivskyi with its launching pad angled upwards tracked an SMM long-range UAV. The following day, a surface-to-air missile system near non-government-controlled Ukrainsk fired two times at an SMM long-range UAV. On 15 June, while monitoring in an area close to non-government-controlled Betmanove, another long-range SMM UAV came under fire from both a surface-to-air missile system and an anti-aircraft gun.
“On 16 June the armed formations of certain areas of Donetsk region, in a public statement, admitted to having fired in the direction of our long-range UAV flying over Betmanove the day before. They claimed – wrongly – that the SMM had not given prior notice of the flight”, added Alexander Hug.
Last week monitoring officers were also experiencing threats. “On 15 June, in non-government-controlled Pikuzy, a man in military-style clothing fired two bursts with an assault rifle in the general direction of unarmed civilian monitors. It is as simple as that. We know why they are interfering with our work. They want to stop us from establishing facts. Because they know that facts matter”, summed up Mr. Hug.