OSCE observers spotted a militant in the occupied area in eastern Ukraine wearing the same armband previously sported by Russian members to the Joint Center of Ceasefire Coordination (JCCC).
"Positioned at the “LPR” checkpoint south of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (15km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM spoke with an “LPR” member who was wearing the same armband previously worn by the Russian Federation Armed Forces officers of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-operation (JCCC)" reads an OSCE daily report of Jan 26.
As reported earlier, on December 7, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the Russian officers who were part of the Joint Center for Ceasefire Coordination in Donbas had been put in "intolerable conditions."
Read alsoOSCE reports 478 civilian casualties in Donbas in 2017 - mediaOn December 14, OSCE SMM observers received a letter from the Russian Defense Ministry stating that Russia was going to withdraw its JCCC members from the Ukrainian territory.
On December 19, Russian officers returned to Russia.
Opinions were voiced that Russia’s move testified to Moscow’s intention to escalate the armed conflict. In particular, U.S. envoy for Ukraine talks Kurt Volker did not rule out aggravation in Donbas.