Today the OSCE has published their Trends and observation report for 2018.
As the only independent body observing the day to day fighting, it’s a pretty good barometer as to what’s going on along the front line. To observe the conflict, the OSCE uses a mix of fixed video camera’s, UAV flights, patrols and staff located in some of the hot spot areas.
312,554 Ceasefire violations – This is the number of times firing was observed, meaning the number of shells or bullets fired. On many occasions, the exact number is impossible to count, such as when there is continues firing from heavy machine guns. Sobering thought that every bullet and shell had the potential to kill someone. Around 5,000 of the violations were recorded during live firing exercises, with much of it happening in Russian military bases near the front line.
The 2018 violations total is a drop of around 22% from the 2017 total of 401,336.
63% of all firing took place after dark.
8,470 Explosions caused by fire from tanks and various forms of light and heavy artillery – It’s the use of heavy weapons which causes the most casualties to people and property.
5 Ceasefire agreements – With the late 2018/19 ceasefire agreement already being broken on a daily bases, these ceasefire agreements are welcome, but not really worth the paper they are written on. OSCE report on average, after 7 days of any new one, the firing increases by 50%. Then after 15 days, the firing exceeds the ceasefire commencement date.
1,176 Freedom of movement restrictions – This is when an OSCE patrol is told to leave an area, or is stopped from entering an area, usually at a military checkpoint. The “vast majority” of these restrictions is within Russian occupied territory, with much of it near the Ukrainian/Russian border. This restriction total is a 34% increase since 2017.
3,823 Weapons violations – This is heavy weapons, such as tanks, armoured vehicles, heavy artillery etc. seen on or near the front line & within agreed withdrawal lines, as per the so-called Minsk agreement. 60% of the weapons seen were in Russian occupied territory.