3 Nov 2017 19:32

OSCE: 400 civilians die in Donbas in 2017, ceasefire violations exceed 325,000

KYIV. Nov 3 (Interfax) - A total of 400 civilians died in the combat zone in Donbas in 2017, Alexander Hug, the principal deputy chief monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, said.

The OSCE SMM recorded 5,892 ceasefire violations in Ukraine in the past week, he said at a briefing in Kyiv on Friday. Therefore, the total number of violations since the beginning of the year is over 325,000, he said.

About 27,000 of those ceasefire violations were committed using proscribed weapons, which should have been withdrawn to the lines agreed by the parties in Minsk a long time ago, Hug said.

Observers recorded 48 units of such weapons, 31 in territories controlled by the Ukrainian government and 17 in the territories outside its control, in the past week, he said. Over 3,800 units of heavy weapons deployed in violation of separation lines, with more than two thirds of them in territories outside Ukraine's control, were recorded this year, Hug said.

Instead of implementing the Minsk Agreements, the parties pretend to do that and focus on arguments regarding what should be implemented in the first place, Hug said.

A total of 2,000 instances of restriction of the OSCE SMM's movement have been recorded this year, Hug said. Mostly they are related to failure in demining of territories or restrictions imposed by servicemen or "armed persons," totaling over 700 times, with the majority of them by the latter.

Observers have faced this most often in areas outside Ukraine's control, near the uncontrolled sections of the border with the Russian Federation, he said.