Europe raises security concerns in Ukraine
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) deputy chief monitor in Ukraine Alexander Hug said on Wednesday more security must be provided for the mission in eastern Ukraine.
“As the incidents earlier this morning elsewhere in the region illustrate, security must be provided everywhere at all times so that we have unrestricted and unhindered freedom of access anywhere on both sides on contact line,” Hug told the journalists after meeting with local people in rebel-controlled town of Horlivka near Donetsk.
Hug said the monitors face security challenges both on Ukraine-controlled and rebel-held territories.
Hug visited Horlivka as the situation in Ukraine’s east became more intense with both sides of conflict blaming each other of ceasefire violations.
The upsurge in fighting has also drawn expressions of concern among Western governments, who see a ceasefire and tentative peace agreement worked out in Minsk, Belarus, as still the best chance of ending the separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine.
Many artillery guns, tanks and other heavy weapons have been withdrawn by both sides under the terms of the Minsk agreement in February, but deaths occur regularly in sporadic outbursts of fighting.
But according to Hug, the OSCE monitoring mission has documented intensive preparations for possible renewal of violence along the conflict line.
“On both sides of the contact line there are accumulation of military hardware,” he said.
“We have seen also so called training camps along the contact line along both sides. We’ve also seen rather robust fortification works and entrenchments on both sides os the contact line,” Hug added.
After the news conference Hug along with other monitors talked to the residents of Horlivka in one of the residential areas of the town.
“We think, we hope that it changes. When you watch on television how they (OSCE monitors) drive around, ask, document… But in fact it is useless. We wish it would change for the better,” local resident Svetlana said.
More than 6,500 people have been killed in the conflict which erupted in April 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea, in reaction to the fall of a Moscow-backed president in Kiev, and threw its support behind separatists in the east.
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