Although OSCE statistics can never adequately reflect the day to day suffering of those living through a war, they do give us an overview into the trauma of it. After six years, it’s easy to forget that every fired bullet and shell, results in men, women and especially children being traumatised, not to mention them standing a good chance of being killed and injured. Sadly as the report details, the latter is an all too often direct consequence.
In addition to presenting us with hard facts, these quarterly reports help counter Russia’s propaganda against the Ukrainian army. Far from Ukraine’s army doing all it can to hinder the work of the OSCE, it’s Russia-led forces who consistently remain the worst OSCE harassers. Link to OSCE report in English, Ukrainian and Russian.
January to March 2020: the Stats.
Ceasefire Violations: 60,188, including 1,632 explosions from heavy weapons banned by the Minsk Agreements. On the plus side, the number of violations is down 25% compared to the last quarter, but the downside, explosions are up seven-fold. The explosion upsurge is attributable primarily to the significant increase in firing around the Zolote disengagement area in the Luhansk region. The Ukrainian military has reported on the almost daily use of mortar fire from Russia-led forces.
Four killed & 23 injured.
Weapons Violations: 424.
The number is down 30% compared to the last quarter, with 80% of the 424 seen in non-gov controlled territory, meaning Russia-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine. Seen on or near the front line, these are heavy weapons in breach of the Minsk agreements. Indicating the difficulties of observing such heavy weapons, OSCE UAV observed 64% of them.
OSCE Freedom of Movement Restrictions: 344.
Freedom of movement relates to OSCE patrols having been refused access to an area, or told to leave one. 97% of the 344 occurred in non-gov controlled territory. So, once again Russia-led forces win the top prize for stopping the work of the OSCE. To store all these awards, Putin must have built a larger mantelpiece?