The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has a military observer mission in east Ukraine. The mission is supposed to equally watch both sides of the conflict and to report incidents and military compliance with the agreements reached in the Minsk 2 ceasefire.
The OSCE’s role is supposed to be neutral.
But its daily report of 18:00hrs, 4 March seriously calls this neutrality into question.
In an unusual long general footnote to the March 4 collection of observations the OSCE mission writes:
* Restrictions on SMM access and freedom of movement:
The SMM is restrained in fulfilling its monitoring functions by security considerations including the lack of information on the whereabouts of landmines, and restrictions imposed by third parties.
The security situation in Donbas is fluid and unpredictable and the cease-fire does not hold everywhere. For this reason, the SMM requires security guarantees from “DPR” and “LPR” which are not always provided. Where such guarantees are limited to escorted movements, and escorts are not provided for all planned patrols or are delayed, this also represents a restriction on SMM freedom of movement.
From this one assumes that only the side of the eastern federalist, the Donetzk Peoples Republic and the Luhansk Peoples Republic, are hindering the observers movement. Only these are blamed.
In particular during the reporting period:
– At the beginning of government-controlled Novodimytriivka village (51km north-west of Donetsk) the Ukrainian Armed Forces commander told the SMM that it could not continue to follow the convoy from government-controlled Selydove (43km north-west of Donetsk) and that he was not allowed to disclose its final destination.
– South-west of government-controlled Bohoyavlenka village (48km south-west of Donetsk) the SMM was told by a commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces that it could not continue to follow the convoy.
– In government-controlled Klynove (64km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM could not continue to follow the convoy as a representative of the Ukrainian Armed Forces told the SMM that it was not allowed to do so.
– At the entrance of Novoaidar (government-controlled, 57km north of Luhansk) the Ukrainian Armed Forces commander of a convoy of heavy weapons coming fromgovernment-controlled Raihorodka (34km north-east of Luhansk), told the SMM that it could not follow the convoy further.
– A representative of the Ukrainian Armed Forces told the SMM that it was not allowed to monitor the further movement of self-propelled 152mm howitzer from government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (88km north-east of Luhansk) towards a northerly direction.
– At a “DPR”-controlled checkpoint, north of Olenivka (22km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM was held up for 20 minutes until the local “DPR” commander came and escorted the SMM through Olenivka to the last “DPR”-controlled checkpoint south of the town.
– At a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint, 10 kilometres north of Mariupol, the SMM washeld up for 35 minutes – and allowed to proceed only after contacting Ukrainian authorities.
There were a total of eight restrictions of movements. Six of those were outright denial of freedom of movement by the Ukrainian government side. A seventh was a temporary denial of movement by the Ukrainian government side which was resolved after contacting higher Ukrainian command levels.
Only one incident of a temporary restriction of movement was reported to be caused by the federalist military. This was resolved when the local commander arrived.
The Ukrainian government is not only blocking the movement of OSCE monitors. (It is also blocking the movement of every Ukrainian who wants to or has to move between the two sides.)
The restrictions to the OSCE’s freedom of movement on March 4 were in seven of eight cases caused by the Ukrainian government. Why then is the leading paragraph pointing out DPR and LPR forces as responsible for hindering OSCE movements?