Photo from UNIAN

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) has reported a gunfire in close vicinity of SMM patrol members at the Zolote disengagement area.

"On July 4, an SMM patrol consisting of four members and two armoured vehicles was positioned at the checkpoint of the armed formations on the southern edge of the Zolote disengagement area (60km west of Luhansk) preparing to conduct a mini-unmanned aerial vehicle flight," the OSCE SMM said in a spot report on July 4, 2019.

"At 11:55, the SMM patrol members, two of whom were outside and two inside the vehicles, with doors open, heard 30-40 bursts of heavy-machine gun and 20-30 shots of small-arms fire, all assessed as originating 1-2km north-north-west of their position. The SMM members heard bullets flying 10-15m above their heads and also heard and saw bullets impacting electricity poles 10-15m south-west of their position," it said.

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"A few seconds later, the SMM patrol members heard 20-30 bursts of outgoing machine-gun and 20-30 shots of small-arms fire, at an assessed distance of 5m north-north-west, within the area of the checkpoint. One SMM patrol member, who was at the time talking to a member of the armed formations at the checkpoint, immediately took cover behind a checkpoint fortification, while the driver of one of the SMM vehicles immediately reversed to pick up the other SMM patrol member."

"At 11:57, all SMM patrol members had entered the vehicles and started driving away, when they heard again bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, assessed as an exchange of fire. The SMM returned safely to its base in Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, non-government-controlled, 50km west of Luhansk)," reads the report.