September, 28

"DNR" militants do not let OSCE SMM patrols into occupation zone

03/23/2020 01:31:47 pm
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The "DNR" militants did not let a single OSCE SMM patrol enter the occupied territory on March 21 and 22, - the Mission's operations report says.

It is noted that at a checkpoint near Olenivka (occupied territory 23 km south-west of Donetsk) on the morning of March 21, "an unarmed member of the armed formations forbade the SMM patrol of 5 employees on 2 cars to travel to areas not controlled by the government, explaining this by the "orders from the leadership of the armed formations".

Also, that same morning at another checkpoint, located about 600 m west of Verkhnioshyrokivske settlement (formerly Octiabr; uncontrolled by the Ukrainian government, 85 km south of Donetsk) in the south of Donetsk oblast, an armed member of the armed formations forbade another mission patrol consisting of 6 employees on 2 cars to travel to areas uncontrolled by the government, explaining that "the checkpoint is closed".

The report also says that at the same checkpoint, but on the following day, March 22 (west of Verkhnioshyrokivske), "an armed member of the armed formations again banned another SMM patrol consisting of 6 officers on 2 vehicles from entering" the occupied territory, "according to him, because of "quarantine".

"Due to these denials of access, the Mission's freedom of movement through the contact line was limited and the SMM patrols were unable to reach the government-controlled areas of Donetsk oblast, which impeded the fulfillment of its mandate throughout the country", - the Mission's report said.

As previously reported, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission stated that it would continue to work throughout Ukraine despite the threat of the spread of coronavirus.

Previously, the occupation authorities claimed that there were no cases of COVID-19 in the territories under their control. Restrictive measures have been introduced, but no quarantine has been officially announced. At the same time, the occupation authorities completely stopped passage operations along the entire line of contact with free Ukraine.