Escalation of tensions in Donbas unavoidable - OSCE SMM
The Donbas conflict may escalate rapidly, the Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, Alexander Hug told a press briefing in Kyiv on Friday.
The sides have yet to disengage forces and hardware, which are stationed in the direct proximity to the contact line and cause ceasefire violations, Hug said. The mission observed 3,286 ceasefire breaches last week alone, and their number would unavoidably increase in the future, he said, adding that escalation was inevitable, judging by the mission's experience.
The OSCE SMM has seen 86 violations of the rules laid down for the disengagement of forces and hardware on the contact line in the reporting period, Hug said.
Thirty-two of those violations were seen in the Kyiv-held areas, and 54 in the areas held by the DPR and the LPR, Hug said. The mission recorded the presence of mines along the contact line, including the recently laid mines in the Zolote area of disengagement of forces and hardware, about 120 meters away from the LPR checkpoint, Hug said.
The Donbas civilian population is suffering because of the conflict, he said.