When reading current military reports, watching videos and viewing Russia’s excitable propaganda, you might think there’s heavy fighting raging in eastern Ukraine. However, things are not as bad as they seem, and for the most part, the firing intensity is less than that seen during 2020. However, as I detail below, some aspects of the conflict have taken a decided turn for the worse. Covering two week periods, these Status Reports give us a snapshot overview of events on the frontline. Link to OSCE report in English, Ukrainian & Russian.
Ceasefire Violations (firing incidents).
Total of 3,828, but 1,500 of these are attributed to “live-fire exercises” by Russia’s forces. If we subtract the 1,500, combat firing was 2,552, a sizable reduction compared to 3,922 in the previous two week period. Worth noting much of the firing is from small-arms.
Freedom of Movement Restrictions.
Russia’s forces unceasing hindrance of the OSCE continues – maybe they have something to hide (lol)? OSCE patrols were stopped 20 times, “all in non-government-controlled areas.” These stoppages included two incidents where soldiers demanded to search OSCE vehicles.
New for 2021, the number of UAV flights subjected to GPS signal interference has dramatically increased. Some 136 flights (82% of all flights) were affected, including several unable to take off due to electronic warfare jamming. Notably, long-range UAV used to observe occupied Ukraine have been affected – these often operate at night and fly along the Ukrainian/Russian border. Adding to UAV woes, the firing at them has also increased, with 13 incidents of small arms fire recorded.
OSCE Camera Interference.
Along the frontline, the OSCE have 25 cameras located along the 500km frontline. Positioned on tall masts at firing hotspot areas, they’ve observed 279,900 ceasefire violations. On April 19th, the OSCE report soldiers in occupied Ukraine attached a camera to one of their camera masts and another to the tower the mast was positioned on – this forced the OSCE to disable their own camera’s “to avoid interference.” They also report the ladder used by OSCE monitors to gain access to their cameras had been cut, presumably by the soldiers.