Crisis in Ukraine Increasing news of ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine is part of a nervous war

Accurate information on the front line will be forcibly reduced when OSCE participating States repatriate their observers. The United States announced its departure on Thursday.

OSCE eight years of surveillance work at the forefront of the war in eastern Ukraine has come to a familiar situation with a number of listed companies: jobs are increasing and the population is shrinking.

US Ambassador to the OSCE Michael Carpenter announced officially in Vienna on Thursday, the United States “has no choice” in the current situation other than to withdraw its civilian observers from Ukraine for the time being for their safety. The United States has had fifty observers on the OSCE.

The United States is not the first to withdraw. According to a diplomatic source interviewed by the news agency Reuters last week, at least the Netherlands, Canada, Slovakia and Albania are among the countries that have repatriated their observers, and there would have been a total of 160 returnees at the time.

OSCE last week withdrew its troops from the separatist-dominated city of Donetsk. At least Britain reported that its observers are currently working only on the Ukrainian side of the so-called ceasefire line.

The OSCE has had more than 700 observers on the so-called Minsk contact line, equipped with, among other things, surveillance planes and permanently located surveillance cameras. The departure of a couple hundred people is thus a considerable reduction in the workforce.

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The organization’s daily reporting has generally reported dozens or hundreds of fire violations. Reports of the international news threshold have only been exceeded in recent years when someone has been reported dead. Most often, such an announcement has come from the Ukrainian staff, which is reporting, above all, the overthrow of its own soldiers. In total, about 14,000 people have died in the war.

Fire break violations rose to headlines on Thursday morning after the Russian state news agency Ria Novosti told me about them. The news was based on information from an anonymous officer in the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic. According to them, Ukrainian forces would have fired early on Thursday morning at five targets in the Luhansk separatist area with grenade launchers, singas and heavy machine guns.

According to the news, the officer provided his information to the “Joint Control Center” at the JCCC. This center served as a liaison office between Ukraine, Russia and the separatists on the front until 2017, when Russia withdrew from it. No wonder, as Russia claimed to have never even been a party to the war.

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After the Russians left, Ukrainian officers would have remained in the “control center” to keep in touch with the separatists. This did not happen to them, because in Kiev’s view, Russia’s local agents are terrorists. Thus, only representatives of the separatists, who use it as a title to gut propaganda, remained in the “control center”.

Luhansk Commander of the “People’s Republic” Militia Jan Leshchenko confirmed to Ria Novost allegations of firing on Ukrainians later Thursday morning. Ukrainian troops then said separatists fired at a kindergarten in the village of Stantsija Luhansk, where one of the few crossings of the contact line is located.

Later in the day, reports of rocket or grenade fire on both the Ukrainian-held Marinsk on the west side of Donetsk and the neighboring separatist-controlled Mandrykyno station village. Mandrykyno is practically already a suburb of Donetsk.

No deaths were reported and the situation did not seem very strange compared to the past.

The latest OSCE observers report was on Thursday night from Wednesday. According to it, there were 129 ceasefire violations in the Luhansk region during the previous day, 71 of which were “explosions”. On the Donetsk region side there were clearly fewer violations, only 24.

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Who ever shoot first, it’s hard to say. However, on Thursday, the Luhansk “People’s Republic” and Russia launched an information campaign.

To the Finnish Ambassador to Ukraine Päivi Laine According to him, the mood in both Kiev and eastern Ukraine has so far been quite calm, at least on the surface.

“However, ceasefire violations create mental pressure,” Laine says.

“And the economy reacts to the news. The Ukrainian state has already had to support its currency and inflation has accelerated. ”

In other words, if Russia’s intention was to upset the Ukrainian and Western audiences, so well.

OSCE observers, on the other hand, have been having difficulty since the autumn, when electronic harassment began to increase.

“Our observers face restrictions, especially east of the ceasefire line,” OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid told HS in an interview last September. “The operation of our aircraft is increasingly being disrupted electronically. It’s hard to say where the harassment is coming from, it has to be figured out. ”

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