Ambassador Çevik appeals to OSCE Permanent Council in connection with threefold increase in number of ceasefire violations in Donbas
Head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), Ambassador Ambassador Y. Halit Çevik, in his address to the OSCE Permanent Council, stressed that violations of the ceasefire in Donbas and restrictions on the Mission's freedom of movement there have intensified.
"The security situation in eastern Ukraine is not improving and challenges are becoming acute," the OSCE's press service quoted Ambassador Çevik as saying.
He underlined that ceasefire violations, hardship faced by civilians and restrictions to the Mission’s freedom of movement, especially the intense and continuous jamming of the Mission's unmanned aerial vehicles, had become more severe.
"The Mission has observed a threefold increase in ceasefire violations since my last report," said Çevik.
According to him, fighting has taken place in more locations along the contact line, and there has been a noticeable rise in the use of more lethal and destructive weapons, and with it greater damage to civilian infrastructure.
The Chief Monitor also stressed that the deterioration of the security situation in two disengagement areas was particularly regrettable, as these were symbols of the sides' commitments to peaceful resolution.
Furthermore, Çevik drew the Council's attention to the fact that 25 civilian casualties had been recorded by the SMM between 21 March and 6 June 2021. He added that nearly 75% of those casualties were due to mines, UXO and other explosive objects, noting that the sides needed "to make urgent progress on commitments related to mine action."
The Chief Monitor reminded that the freedom of movement of civilians continued to be severely restricted across the contact line and called for the opening of all corresponding checkpoints, including those at the new crossing points at Zolote and Shchastia.
The Chief Monitor underlined that 80% of the Mission’s long-range UAV flights have been affected by jamming, which had recently led to the crash of another aircraft.
"In closing, the SMM's Chief Monitor called on the sides to return to a constructive approach, both on the ground and in the Working Group on Security Issues of Trilateral Contact Group, emphasizing that progress could be made only if they took ownership and rose to their responsibilities," the press release reads.