SMM: almost 16,000 ceasefire violations recorded in Donbas over week
Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Ertugrul Apakan has said that the security situation in eastern Ukraine is deteriorating, according to a posting on the official website of the OSCE.
"We note with concern a sharp deterioration in the security situation with ceasefire violations reaching levels not recorded since February this year," Apakan said on December 19.
According to the report, preliminary figures from the SMM showed almost 16,000 recorded ceasefire violations in the week from December 11 to December 17 - a 35% increase on the week before.
The figures, based on observations by SMM ground patrols and from static cameras and unmanned aerial vehicles, reflect a trend previously observed, in which a recommitment to the ceasefire by the sides was followed by a steady increase in the level of violence, culminating in fierce fighting resulting in casualties and disruption and destruction of critical civilian infrastructure, OSCE said.
"A return to normality, wherein civilians can once again resume their everyday lives without fear of shelling and landmines is the first step to a long-term sustainable peace," Apakan said.