May 4th to 17th: OSCE Front Line Report

OSCE status report May 4th to 17th.
I usually start by saying these “Status” reports give us a snapshot of events on the front line, a feel for the intensity of the conflict. Compared to previous months, May has been relatively quiet, with far fewer shells flying back and forth. However, reports show civilian casualties and damage to property is on-going.

Ceasefire Violations.
Overall we’ve seen an increase to 10,500, but included in this total, there was a decrease in the number of explosions 2,000.

Previous fortnight: Ceasefire violation 9,800 and 2,750 explosions. Ceasefire violations reflect firing along the front line, but can also include some training firing close to the front line. The OSCE usually refer to explosions as heavier fire from mortars, artillery & tanks. In this case the majority will be mortar fire.

OSCE stats
The OSCE report: Link for Ukrainian and Russian versions. 

The Three Disengagement areas.
Calm situation continues at the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge crossing in the Luhansk region. Some firing continues at Petrivske in the Donetsk region. Reporting on the disengagement area at Zolote in the Luhansk region can be deceptive. Although no firing has been noted within it, we’ve seen on-going, sometimes heavy firing all around its edges during 2020. OSCE have noted the “presence of persons inside the ones near Zolote and Petrivske.”

Civilian Casualties.
Nine people injured.
2020 total thus far: 6 killed and 38 injured.
The report references injuries to five children. A number of children were claimed to have been injured in Russia-led territory. However, OSCE monitors were refused access to examine the site of the alleged explosion incident, leading to suspicions they’d been injured by some form of explosive device, possibly a mine or while playing with some ordnance which exploded. The fact the OSCE were stopped from visiting the site casts real doubt on the claim they were injured by Ukrainian shelling. Sadly, children injuring themselves from stocks of Russian ammunition they’ve found lying around is a routine affair within Russia-led territory.

Mines.
OSCE noted over 900 anti-tank mines.

Local Ceasefires.
OSCE monitors provide valuable assistance in allowing repairs to “critical civilian infrastructure.” They act as a go-between for both sides and usually provide a monitoring presence while work proceeds. This time they aided repairs to vital water piping which served around 1.2 million people.

Freedom of Movement.
Keeping their 100% track record of disrupting the work of the OSCE, Russia-led forces again top the charts with 37 out of 38 freedom of movement stoppages. This is where OSCE patrols have been stopped from moving into an area, usually at checkpoints or told to leave an area, usually at the Ukrainian/Russian border or railway stations. The report references an incident of May 9th when a OSCE monitors were effectively held hostage for almost 3 hours by Russia-led soldiers. Read my post on this.

Russia-led forces are continuing to use the Coronavirus as a means to stop OSCE patrols.

OSCE UAV.
UAV were subjected to signal interference 30 times. This will be due to the use of electronic warfare systems, used by both sides. There is definitely more firing at UAV happening in 2020. The OSCE observed 6 incidents of small arms firing, 5 of which occurred within Russia-led territory.

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