Ukraine ceasefire violations 'highest in months'

'Armed violence in eastern Ukraine has once again reached worrying levels,' OSCE says

Ukraine ceasefire violations 'highest in months'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine have reached their highest level in months, with violence again reaching "worrying levels," the chief OSCE monitor said Thursday.

Ertugrul Apakan called for the warring parties to show "visible and decisive" action to restore the truce.

"During the past weeks, the (OSCE) has registered the highest number of ceasefire violations in months," Apakan said. "Armed violence in eastern Ukraine has once again reached worrying levels."

Apakan said in Vienna that artillery and mortars proscribed under a February 2015 Minsk ceasefire agreement between Kyiv and Russian-backed rebels "are being used again in increased numbers".

He also voiced concern about "direct attacks" against monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) which he said were taking place "with impunity for the perpetrators".

"Three serious security incidents have taken place recently: weapons were shot in the direction of SMM monitors, they were threatened at gunpoint, and one SMM vehicle was hit by a bullet," he said.

"This impunity for people who threaten, violently mistreat or attack the SMM, or who violate its freedom of movement, must end," he said after briefing OSCE member states at the body's headquarters.

He also said a growing number of weapons are missing from permanent storage sites and from known weapons holding areas, with many of these facilities "completely abandoned".

"Our observations suggest that many of these weapons are back in use at the contact line," he said.

He said monitors "continued to experience restrictions in reaching the Ukraine-Russian Federation border in areas not controlled by the (Ukraine) government."

He added: "A sustainable ceasefire is of central importance to the further implementation of the Minsk agreements. Now is the time for the sides to show visible and decisive action to restore it."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Nisan 2016, 14:53