Friday, May 5 2017 23:13 EEST
OSCE SMM records decrease in ceasefire violations in Donbas
OSCE, SMM,  Records,  Decrease,  Ceasefire,  Violations, Donbas

The Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE SMM) has noted a decrease in a number of ceasefire violations in Donbas, but linked it to the newly-introduced patrolling restrictions.

The OSCE SMM has recorded slight decrease in a number of ceasefire violations; moreover, it has been the fifth week in a row when monitors are recording a decrease, Alexander Hug, the first deputy chief monitor of the OSCE SMM to Ukraine, said at a briefing in Kyiv on Friday. However, it is partially linked to the fact that the OSCE SMM has restricted patrolling following the incident on April 23 in which an employee of the mission was killed, he said.

Not only was patrolling geography reduced, but flights of the mission's unmanned aerial vehicles ceased fully, he said. The OSCE SMM cannot perform monitoring at previous levels, Hug said.

At the same time, OSCE SMM monitors confirmed that four civilians had been killed and six wounded in blasts of mines and unexploded ordnance in Donbas in the past week, he said.

The parties to the conflict should fulfill their obligations and perform mine clearance of territories, Hug said. In addition, OSCE SMM monitors' security was threatened two times in the past week, he said. On one occasion, an explosion was heard near them, and on the other, small arms fire from occurred close to them, Hug said. Those instances took place in the populated localities of Molodyzhne and Kruta Hora, both of which are in the territories not under the Kyiv government's control, he said.

To date, the OSCE SMM to Ukraine comprises 656 observers, 575 of which are working in the east of the country, Hug said.

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