14:55 10.02.2017

OSCE SMM describes last week as one of worst since beginning of Donbas conflict, reports de-escalation of tensions this week

The scope of ceasefire violations in Donbas grew manifold last week, Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, said.

Last week was one of the worst: the number of ceasefire violations tripled, and the rate of mortar, tank and artillery attacks grew six-fold, he told a press briefing in Kyiv on Friday.

In addition, OSCE SMM monitors observed a 40% increase in incidents involving rocket launchers, he said.

The mission confirmed 30 civilian injuries and eight deaths last week, he said.

At the same time, OSCE monitors saw de-escalation of tensions in the region at the beginning of this week. The scope of violence has been on decline in recent days, Hug said.

He added that heavy weapons banned by the Minsk Agreements had not been withdrawn from the Donbas contact line.

Both sides continue to use such weapons and share the responsibility for civilian casualties, the OSCE SMM officer said.

In his words, the mission currently comprises 722 monitors, including 603 deployed in eastern Ukraine.

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