Members of illegal armed formations of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" ("DPR") have denied all patrols of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine travelling from government-controlled areas passage into non-government-controlled areas in Donetsk region on March 21 and March 22.
"On the morning of March 21 at a checkpoint near Olenivka (non-government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk), an unarmed member of the armed formations denied an SMM patrol – consisting of two vehicles and five members – passage into non-government-controlled areas, citing 'instructions from senior members of the armed formations,'" the OSCE SMM said in a spot report released on March 22.
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On the same morning at a checkpoint about 600m west of Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, non-government-controlled, 85km south of Donetsk), in southern Donetsk region, an armed member of the armed formations denied another SMM patrol – consisting of two vehicles and six members – passage into non-government-controlled areas, citing "the closure of the checkpoint."
On the morning of March 22 at the same checkpoint west of Verkhnoshyrokivske, an armed member of the armed formations again denied another SMM patrol – consisting of two vehicles and six members – passage into non-government-controlled areas, citing reasons related to "quarantine."
"These denials restricted the SMM's freedom of movement across the contact line and rendered it unable to access non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk region, thus impeding the implementation of its Mandate throughout the country," the OSCE SMM said.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukraine on March 22 suspended the passage of citizens across the contact line in the Joint Forces Operation zone to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in Ukraine.