OSCE reports about sharp increase in ceasefire violations in Donetsk region
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine has reported about a sharp increase in the number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region.
"The SMM observed a total of 794 ceasefire violations in Donetsk region, considerably higher than on previous days. Of note, positioned in city-center Donetsk between 16:00 and 07:00 on February 21-22, the SMM recorded 312 undetermined explosions 7-10 km to the west and north-west. On February 22, positioned at the DPR-controlled Donetsk central railway station (6 km north-west of Donetsk city center) between 08:40 and 15:05, the SMM heard 36 undetermined explosions and two bursts of small-arms fire 3-8 km to the north, north-north-east, north-west and north-north-west," the OSCE SMM said on February 23 in an update based on information received as of 19:30 local time on February 22, 2016.
"Positioned in DPR-controlled Yasynuvata (16 km north-east of Donetsk) between 08:40 and 13:45, the SMM heard 158 explosions (140 impacts and 18 blasts) caused by, among other weapons, mortars, automatic-grenade launchers, and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, plus an additional six undetermined explosions, and at least 155 bursts of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire and fire from infantry fighting vehicles, from locations 0.5-7 km south-west, west-south-west and north-north-west of its position," the update said.
The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of heavy weapons foreseen in the Minsk Package of Measures. The SMM has yet to receive the full information requested in the 16 October 2015 notification.
In areas controlled by the Government, in violation of the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed the following: 18 towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) in what Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel had previously said was a heavy weapons holding area; two SA-8 tactical surface-to-air missile launchers (9K33, Osa, 210mm), one close to government controlled Zhelanne Druhe (29km north-west of Donetsk) and another near government-controlled Dmytrivka (43km north of Luhansk); and, an SA-13 surface-to-air anti-aircraft system (9K35Strela-10) near government-controlled Prychepylivka (49km north-west of Luhansk).
In areas not controlled by the Government, in violation of the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed the following: four howitzers (D-30, 122mm) in Luhansk city, moved there, according to the LPR, from an LPR heavy weapons permanent storage site. The weapons, the LPR told the SMM, will be included in a military parade in Luhansk city on February 23.
The SMM revisited an LPR heavy weapons permanent storage site and noted that four howitzers (D-30, 122mm) were missing.