OSCE SMM reports highest number of ceasefire breaches in Donbas since beginning of 2016

OSCE SMM reports highest number of ceasefire breaches in Donbas since beginning of 2016The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) has registered the highest number of ceasefire breaches along the disengagement line in Donbas since the beginning of the year.

Last year, the number of ceasefire breaches registered by the OSCE SMM exceeded the previous level by 160% and was the highest number of attacks since the beginning of the year, Alexander Hug, first deputy head of the OSCE SMM, told a briefing in Kyiv on Thursday.

Hug said that most breaches, 3,444, are attacks using mortars, tanks, surface-to-air missile systems and artillery and most of these breaches occur around densely populated areas. Massive violence is taking place near Mariupol, not far from Maryinka and Popasna, he said.

He also said OSCE SMM observers registered the doubling of the number of locals' deaths in the past week in comparison with the week before.

The figures demonstrate an increase in violence that needs to be stopped, important steps need to be taken, one of which should be full implementation of the framework agreement of the trilateral contact group regarding the September 21 disengagement, Hug said.

At the same time, Hug said the disengagement envisaged in Petrivske and Zolote is really working. OSCE SMM observers have not registered any ceasefire breaches there, he said.

However, in Stanytsia Luhanska, where no disengagement has occurred, the ceasefire regime still cannot be maintained. There have been no concessions on this track and the sides are still less than 300 meters away from each other, observers see shell craters every day, Hug said, adding that there is a need for disengagement.
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