New OSCE Report: Firing Increasing in Eastern Ukraine

The latest fortnightly OSCE report is out.
Covers the period from Sept 21st to Oct 4th. Indicates front line firing is on the increase, but the amount of firing is still thankfully far lower than before the ceasefire. These Status Reports are useful as they present an overall picture of what’s been happening along the front line and open a small window into Russia-led eastern Ukraine. Link to OSCE report in English, Ukrainian and Russia.

Main points.
Ceasefire Violations: Total of 429 compared to 120 in the previous 2 weeks.
Violations mostly refer to incidents of firing, but include heavy weapons seen in and around the front line, along with any live firing training exercises near front line. OSCE note that at 71 days since start of new ceasefire on July 27th, it’s the longest period where violations did not reach pre-ceasefire levels.

The 3 Disengagement Areas.
All three are reported as quiet. However, OSCE note people, presumably soldiers were seen in and around both the Zolote & Petrivske disengagement areas. They also reference their static observation camera in occupied Petrivske is still damaged; it having been deliberately shot at and broken by Russia’s forces back in June.

Civilian Casualties.
Regrettably, despite the ceasefire, the bloody toll inflicted on civilians is unrelenting. Nine casualties are listed, including 3 fatalities. They reference 2 of the casualties occurred before July 27th, these having just been collaborated. None of the casualties were because of shelling or combat firing – instead all due to either the handling of explosive devices or triggering mines. According to the OSCE daily reports, as usual, most casualties occurred in Russia-led Ukraine and included injuries to children. So far in 2020: Total of 79 civilian casualties, including 13 killed.

Civilian Front Line Checkpoints.
Number of places where civilians can cross back and forth into occupied and Government controlled regions remains limited. This is causing much distress for those, notably the elderly wishing to collect their pensions and buy goods etc. in Gov controlled areas. Ukraine’s highlighted growing and well-founded fears about the spread of COVID-19 in Russia-led Ukraine, referencing the lack of medical staff and inadequate facilities there to combat it.

Freedom of Movement Restrictions.
This is where I make some quip about – no prizes for guessing who hindered the OSCE most.
And yes, again it’s those pesky, something to hide Russia’s forces. Over the two week period, OSCE patrols were stopped 16 times in non-government controlled areas. This refusals to allow OSCE monitors access or when patrols are ordered to leave an area, usually occur at checkpoints or at the Ukrainian/Russian border. It’s a rare occurrence when Ukrainian forces stop the OSCE from monitoring.

UAV continue to suffer the jamming of their signals and small arms fire directed at them. Two are reported as fired upon and 15 experienced signal interference.

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