Thus far in eastern Ukraine, 2020 has been notable for the dramatic increase in heavy weapons shelling. Over the last few years, the use of mortars and artillery was on the wain and more often restricted to occasional outbursts of intense firing. This year, however, their use has become a daily occurrence.
In terms of the firing of heavy weapons and their corresponding shell explosions, a glance at the below OSCE Trends and Observation reports tell us 2020 will likely exceed 2019 & possibly even 2018. Goes without saying that more deaths, injuries and damage to property occur due to heavy weapons usage.
Jan to March 2020: Already at 1,632.
OSCE Freedom of Movement Restrictions (FMR).
2020 is also on target to see increased military restrictions placed on OSCE patrols. Restrictions usually occur when soldiers stop monitors at checkpoints, refuse to let them into an area or order them to leave a location. Doesn’t take a genius to work out the OSCE see their movement restricted when someone has something to hide. And looking at the stats, Russia-led forces in eastern Ukraine have lots of things they’d rather the OSCE didn’t see.
Jan to March 2020: Already at 344 FMR. A total of 97% occurring in Russia-led territory.
2019: 1,013 FMR, 90% of them in Russia-led territory.
2018: 1,176 FMR, 83% of them in Russia-led territory.