The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission is recording the largest number of shelling in Donbas over the past 14 months. The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), Ambassador Mikko Kinnunen, made the following statement to the press after the regular meetings of the TCG and its Working Groups held through video conferencing:
“Today’s meeting took place one day before the non-extension of the OSCE Observer Mission mandate on the Russian-Ukrainian border by the Russian Federation. Since 2014, this mission has been an important confidence-building component of the OSCE’s agreed conflict resolution efforts.
The security situation is volatile with an average of over 250 ceasefire violations per day during September. Of special concern is the high number of civilian casualties by shelling and shooting, which in September 2021 reached the highest number since July 2020 ceasefire measures.
During the last two weeks, OSCE SMM freedom of movement has been violated 39 times of which 31 in CADO, 6 in CALO and 2 in government-controlled areas. Other impediments to the work of SMM is the continued shooting at and jamming of SMM UAV flights.
The discussions in the Security Working Group allowed the participants to voice their views of the security situation but regrettably, it was not possible to agree on concrete measures.
The Political Working Group continued its discussion related to the elaboration of a draft action plan in full compliance with the Minsk agreements and its way forward.
I welcomed the positive fact that the Humanitarian Working Group returned to substantial discussions on the issues on the agenda. It is encouraging that participants are trying to find ways to remove the remaining blockages for opening of the new crossing points near Zolote and Shchastia of the Luhansk region.
The Economic Working Group dealt in particular with water issues. With regard to ecological questions, the WG discussed steps towards a possible IAEA inspection in CADLO and welcomed the upcoming second session of the expert group on flooded mines close to the contact line.”
Earlier, it was reported that Russia would not continue OSCE mission on border with occupied Donbas.
The OSCE Permanent Council extended the mandate of the monitoring mission at the Gukovo and Donetsk checkpoints for only two months (these checkpoints are located on Russia's border with the occupied Donbas) at the end of May due to Russia's position.