OSCE Report April to June 2020 – Firing Increased

OSCE Report for the 2nd Quarter of 2020.
These Trends and Observations give us a feel for the on-going conflict in eastern Ukraine and present us with the only independent look at what’s happening inside Russia-led territory. They also reveal the grim routines associated with the conflict, such as which days most of the firing occurs and stats which may show a connection.

Connection Example.
Most firing occurred in May. That month also saw the highest number of movement restrictions placed on the OSCE by Russia-led forces. It’s a safe bet the two stats are connected with Russia-led forces trying to hide their heavy weapons on the front line and activity on the Russian border. Overall the 2nd quarter of 2020 saw a 5% rise in firing incidents and increased restrictions placed on OSCE monitors.
Link to OSCE report in English, Ukrainian and Russian.

Ceasefire Violations.
56,879 (firing incidents) including 1,378 heavy weapons explosions.
As we’ve seen throughout 2020, most explosions will be from mortar fire. Compared to Jan – March, this is an increase of 5% for ceasefire violations & 16% for explosions. 300 of the violations related to Russia-led forces live firing training.

Ceasefire Violations by Month.
April 17,226.
May 23,311.
June 16,343.

In each given week, the majority of the firing occurs on Mondays, Fridays & Saturdays.
OSCE graph shows the firing level fluctuates, with roughly 4 to 5,000 violations per week. That’s a lot of firing and it’s happening in Europe.

OSCE Trends

Weapons Violations.
Total of 519. These are sightings of heavy weapons such as artillery and tanks seen on the front line, close to the front line or positioned near civilian property. Five hundred and nineteen is a sizable increase of 20% compared to Jan – March. Unsurprisingly, 85% of the weapons were seen in Russia-led territory.

Weapons Violation by Month.
April 87. May 167. June 265.
The OSCE observe most violations using Long Range UAV. These long range flights enable the observation of areas well back from the front line. Night time flights have been particularly useful in spotting Russian military convoys repeatedly crossing the Ukrainian border. Most post on a recent OSCE cross-border sighting.

Lastly we have – OSCE Freedom of Movement Restrictions.
Total of 311, a 22% increase on Jan – March. This is when OSCE patrols are refused access, usually through a military checkpoint or when ordered to leave a location. As ever, 97% of the 311 restrictions were by Russia-led soldiers. As stated in the report, monitors are often stopped from proceeding due to the presence of mines and unexploded ordnance on roads, but these instances are not related to the 311 total.

Separate to the above restrictions.
Monitors also had their movement restricted a further 200 times due to COVID-19. Unlike the Ukrainian army, Russia-led forces have repeatedly used the virus as another means to restrict OSCE access, thereby hindering monitoring.

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