Here we have another fortnightly OSCE Status report.
For anyone wanting a sense of what’s going on, these regular reports give us a useful front line snapshot. Data is collated via OSCE monitors observations on the ground, OSCE UAV flights & OSCE static camera’s which record firing.
OSCE link to download English, Ukrainian and Russian versions.
May 18th to 31st.
Overall the number of ceasefire violations (firing incidents) decreased. Total of 9,850 compared to 10,500 for the first 2 weeks in May. However included in that total, the number of explosions increased significantly to 2,650, compared to 2,000. Explosions mainly due to increased mortar & some artillery fire.
Firing close to OSCE monitors.
This happened twice. For the May 23rd incident at Vesela Hora, this was a clear cut case of Russia-led soldiers firing over the heads of OSCE monitors and missing them by just 10m. The deliberate targeting by Russia-led forces of OSCE monitors has a become of routine feature of Russia’s odious propaganda machine. They simply fire towards monitors then blame the Ukrainian army. Read my post detailing the May 23rd incident.
Four civilians injured. With increased use of heavy weapons and counter battery fire, civilians always get caught on the middle. That said, the bulk of casualties usually occur due to mines and people having touched unexploded ordnance. 2020 total – 6 civilians killed & 42 injured.
Worth noting these are the “corroborated” casualties. In Russia-led eastern Ukraine, they routinely report civilian casualties due to “Ukrainian shelling,” but then often refuse to give OSCE access to hospitals to see/speak to victims & monitors are sometimes stopped from examining the locations where deaths/injuries reportedly occurred. This reluctance to assist the OSCE in confirming civilian casualties indicates some in Russia-led territory are either made up for propaganda purposes or caused by incidents unrelated to Ukrainian firing.
Three Disengagement areas.
Still on-going firing in and around Petrivske in the Donetsk region and people observed within it. At Zolote, the heavy firing in the surrounding area continues & people also seen moving around within it. Bridge crossing at Stanytsia Luhanska remains quiet.
Freedom of Movement.
Stopping the OSCE from observing things is dead giveaway that you have something to hide. This time patrols were stopped 55 times, with 52 of them occurring in Russia-led territory or as the OSCE say – in areas not controlled by the (Ukrainian) government. The Ukrainian army rarely stop OSCE patrols & these Status reports indicted the vast bulk of all Freedom of Movement restrictions are imposed by Russia-led forces.
2020 has seen an increase in firing at and the electronic warfare jamming of OSCE UAV. In this period it happened on 19 occasions, with 3 small arms firing incidents whilst flying over Russia-led territory.