Political progress needed to underpin security in eastern Ukraine, OSCE SMM Chief Monitor tells Permanent Council
KYIV, 4 February 2021 – Lower levels of violence have been observed since the additional measures to strengthen the ceasefire entered into force on 27 July 2020, but the ceasefıre is fraying in parallel to the absence of substantial political progress, said Yaşar Halit Çevik, Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine.
In his online address to the OSCE Permanent Council today, Ambassador Çevik stressed that “the continuation of this fragile ceasefire depends on political will and productive discussions at the negotiating table.”
The Chief Monitor highlighted that the lack of full compliance with written commitments by the sides, together with mines, unexploded ordnance, and other explosive devices have a heavy toll on the lives of civilians. With the onset of the pandemic, civilians, particularly the elderly, have faced additional hardship, with freedom of movement across the contact line severely restricted. The Line of Contact is becoming a Line of Separation, he warned.
Impediments to SMM monitoring of the security situation remained, said the Chief Monitor. Chronic restrictions on its freedom of movement, primarily in non-government-controlled areas, continue; and electronic interference with, and live-fire targeting of SMM unmanned aerial vehicles persist.
As the dangers of COVID-19 remain acute, Çevik said the Mission would continue operating flexibly and adaptively to steer itself through the pandemic crisis. Mitigation measures successfully implemented to protect staff and the local population they serve have not substantively affected the SMM’s ability to monitor the security situation, with the Mission offsetting the reduced number of patrols with a greater reliance on technical means.
For PDF attachments or links to sources of further information, please visit: https://www.osce.org/special-monitoring-mission-to-ukraine/477562
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