Russia-led Forces Responsible for Majority of OSCE Movement Restrictions

As OSCE maps go, this one hits the blue spot.
From Jan to June 2019: it details OSCE (SMM’s) Freedom of Movement (FoM) restrictions in eastern Ukraine. Link to full report.

The blue dots represent 450 occasions when OSCE patrols had movement restrictions placed on them by both sides. The vast bulk of restrictions were classified as “denials of access, meaning soldiers stopped OSCE patrols from entering an area, or told them to leave one. They report 90% of such “denials” occurred in non-government controlled areas (Russia-led eastern Ukraine).

It’s almost like the self-proclaimed, so-called Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics have something to hide? Maybe something called the Russian army?

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Consistently, a large number of FoM restrictions occur in Russia-led territory on the south Azov Sea coast and at border crossings into Russia. The map also reveals the stark reality of Russia’s total control over 409km of Ukraine’s eastern border. Apart from rare OSCE, UAV observation flights, hundreds of kilometres of the Ukrainian/Russian border have no routine monitoring whatsoever.

It’s also revealing that along the Russia-led front line, large numbers of FoM restrictions occur in areas where most firing occurs (larger blue dots). Again, this is an excellent indicator Russia-led forces need to hide hardware such as mortars and artillery, and military activity which breaches the Minsk agreement.

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OSCE Graph shows FoM restrictions 2018-2019. 
2018 July to Dec: 81% occurred in areas “outside (Ukraine) government control.”
2019 Jan to June: 89% occurred in areas “outside (Ukraine) government control.”

OSCE Text from report.
“In the first six months of 2019, the overall number of restrictions of the SMM’s freedom of movement decreased. 

1 The Mission encountered about 450 restrictions, a 37 per cent decrease, compared with the previous six months.

2 The majority of restrictions were denials of access. Almost 90 per cent of the restrictions occurred in non-government controlled areas.

Compared with the previous six months, the Mission recorded a 45 per cent decrease in the number of restrictions in non-government-controlled areas of Luhansk region (90 compared with 165); a 26 per cent decrease in the number of restrictions in non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk region (310 compared with 421); and a 62 percent decrease in the number of restrictions in government-controlled areas of both regions (50 compared with 134).

Despite this decrease, the restrictions of the SMM’s freedom of movement affected its operations and hindered its monitoring capabilities. Specifically, the SMM continued to face freedom of movement restrictions at various checkpoints near the contact line and
elsewhere, with the majority of cases occurring in non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk region. The SMM also observed the systematic continuation of denials in border areas (Russian/Ukrainian border) in non-government-controlled areas of southern Donetsk region and at border crossing points beyond government control in Luhansk region.”

Bringing us up to date, the below OSCE report for March 9th to March 22nd 2020, details the majority of FoM restrictions are again imposed by Russia-led forces. Total of 68, with 65 in non-government areas. Link to OSCE report. My Blog post on the report.

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