Front Line Update: It’s sort of Quiet

So how’s the July 27th ceasefire holding up?
Not bad so far, is the short answer.

We are getting sporadic weekly firing of mainly small-arms with a few explosions.
In the below fortnightly OSCE report, they detail a big reduction in firing compared to the 2 week period before the ceasefire. OSCE report link.

July 27th to August 9th.
OSCE reported a total of 256 ceasefire violations, including 45 explosions.
Some of the violations are from live firing military training by both Ukrainian and Russia-led forces near the front line. That total compares to 8,094 ceasefire violations & 2,078 explosions during previous 2 weeks. So that’s some drop. Predictably, OSCE monitors continue to be stopped from patrolling by Russia-led soldiers, with 16 out of 17 Freedom of Movement restrictions occurring in Russia-led territory.

The Ukrainian military report no heavy weapons use by Russia-led forces and they haven’t sustained any combat casualties since July 27th. Sadly 1 soldier has been reported killed and another wounded by a mine. They reported the soldiers as having “deviated” from their route suggesting they strayed into a mined area. This suggests the incident was a tragic accident of war.

Civilian Casualties.
Thus far, one civilian has been wounded during the ceasefire, this in Ukrainian territory at the town of Marinka – hit on July 27th by shrapnel from Russia-led firing. Grim total for 2020 now stands at 8 civilians killed & 53 injured.

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As seen on the below map, over the weekend, the OSCE did observe increased firing.
All in the Donetsk region, some 142 ceasefire violations recorded including 21 explosions. Majority of firing appears to have been small arms. OSCE report link.

Now the cynical reason for the lack of firing in the Luhansk region is down to Russia-led forces building a new civilian front line checkpoint, on the edge of the Zolote disengagement area. This they hope to open in the near future. So when Russia wants something built which will benefit its occupied Ukrainian territory, the word goes out to Russia-led forces not to fire.

The plus-side of the lack of lead whizzing about, is the increased repairs to civilian electricity cables, gas pipes and other amenities. OSCE usually help out here by arranging local ceasefires.

How long will the ceasefire last?
I suspect we’ll see it holding into September. In the meantime, the hundreds of thousands of civilians living along the front line have the surreal yet welcome experience of hearing virtually no firing during the night or day. But I doubt many of them will think the silence will last.

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