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Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine Yaşar Halit Çevik has said despite the positive impact of recent disengagement in the three agreed areas and the reconstruction of the bridge near Stanytsia Luhanska, a comprehensive ceasefire remains an essential element for progress.

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In his address to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on Thursday, he noted that overall, the disengagement process remained on track in the pilot areas, and that discussions in the Trilateral Contact Group's Working Group on Security Issues continued to reach an agreement on the identification of new disengagement areas, the OSCE said in a press release on February 7, 2020.

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"More efforts on mine action and the opening of new entry-exit checkpoints along the contact line are needed to alleviate the hardship civilians face every day," said Çevik.

He also emphasized that the SMM continues to experience restrictions to its freedom of movement, which hinders its ability to fulfill its mandated tasks.