The latest OSCE report is out, and with the risk of repeating myself, it’s not all quiet on the eastern front. The increased daily firing is reflected in the OSCE observing over 2,000 ceasefire violations compared to the previous two weeks.
These fortnightly reports give a useful and our only insight into the goings-on inside occupied eastern Ukraine. They also help counter much of Russia’s propaganda directed at the Ukrainian army, in that they show Russia-led forces are responsible for most weapons violations & obstructions of the OSCE.
OSCE website link to report: In English, Ukrainian and Russian.
March 9th to 22nd Report Detail.
Ceasefire Violations: 11,300, including 5,350.
This compares with 9,100 and 3,150, respectively, in the prev two weeks.
The increase in explosions is attributable to the increased use of mortars and anti-tank rockets.
Weapons Violations: 85.
The numbers slightly down on prev two weeks, 51 observed in “non-government controlled areas” and 34 in Ukraine government areas. Violations refer to heavy weapons seen on/near the front line and military hardware found near civilian buildings. Of course, these are only the instances where the OSCE has managed to see hardware such as tanks, heavy mortars and artillery.
Civilian Casualties: 1 Killed and 3 injured.
These are confirmed cases which the OSCE could verify.
Overall in 2020: 3 civilians have been killed & 22 injured.
Inside Russia-led eastern Ukraine, casualties routinely get reported, but hospital staff often refuse to talk to OSCE monitors about alleged injuries. Tellingly, medical staff inform OSCE monitors they need to get permission from the military before they talk about casualties. Translated, this means the Russian army is in control and not the so-called elected, civilian governments. This lack of cooperation by medical staff to reveal information on casualties supposedly caused by Ukrainian shelling, means it’s a safe assumption nobody has been injured or the injuries don’t relate to the conflict. This year has seen several people severely wounded due to mines laid by Russia-led forces.
Coronavirus – COVID-19.
Since March 22nd, both sides have closed all front line checkpoints. The report mentions a reduction in people using crossing points and soldiers/staff checking people’s temperatures and wearing gloves and masks.
Freedom of Movement: 68 instances, with 65 in non-government areas.
As ever, Russia-led forces win top prize for hindering the work of the OSCE. Soldiers either refuse to let OSCE patrols pass through checkpoints or order them to leave an area such as railway yards and border crossings.
OSCE UAV (drones) Targeted: 30 times.
Predominately, this relates to electronic warfare systems jamming UAV radio signals. One UAV brought down by this method within the Petrivske disengagement area. Also, small arms fire was directed at six UAV, four times by Russia-led forces and twice by Ukrainian troops.
March 10th and Feb 16th: Below are OSCE images of Russian Military electronic warfare systems seen in Russia-led areas of Luhansk and Donetsk.