The fragile truce in eastern Ukraine has on several occasions been violated by an “unidentified third party,” the OSCE mission stated in its daily report, citing officers of the joint coordination center who were trying to organize a ceasefire.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) has witnessed three
attempts by the Joint Centre for Control Coordination
(JCCC) to organize a ceasefire between Ukrainian troops and the
self-proclaimed republics’ forces, according to the new report
dated April 16. But within minutes after the arranged time,
ceasefires were broken by a “third party,” Ukrainian and
Russian officers tasked with mediating the truce told OSCE
“According to both Ukrainian Armed Forces and Russian
Federation Armed Forces officers at the observation point, an
unidentified ‘third party’ was provoking the two sides,” the
mission’s report says.
“The SMM witnessed…[that] sporadic firing of mortars and
machine guns started within a few minutes of the arranged
[ceasefire] start time,” the report says.
The SMM does not mention where the fire was coming from, nor does
it name possible perpetrators of the alleged provocations.
Eventually, Kiev forces and the militias did manage to secure a
short ceasefire window from 13:07 to 15:37 local time as sporadic
fighting around Donetsk continued throughout the day. Overall the
OSCE mission registered 18 separate cases of ceasefire violations
on the day.
Permanent representative of the self-proclaimed DPR, Dennis
Pushilin, believes that the “third party” blamed for the
provocations might be nationalist units, often privately funded,
and not necessarily under the control of Kiev. Despite the
earlier understanding that paramilitary forces in Ukraine will
join the central command structure, a few rogue cells could still
“These battalions only half obey the central government. All
provocations occur where Azov and Right Sector battalions are
concentrated. Namely Shirokino area, Donetsk airport and
Avdeyevka. This pushes the situation to a new conflict,”
“They want a new war and new blood. They aim to involve the
Ukrainian armed forces in the conflict, although the Ukrainian
army to a greater degree follow orders,” Pushilin said.
Meanwhile the SMM also witnessed several violations of heavy
artillery presence in areas that are supposed to be demilitarized
following the Minsk II agreement. Using surveillance drones, the
monitors observed violations in areas controlled by both sides of
the conflict, including 21 Ukrainian tanks and six artillery
pieces. Four howitzers towed by trucks and two tanks were seen on
the territory under DPR’s control.
Over 6,000 people have died in the conflict in eastern Ukraine,
which has lasted for over a year, according to conservative UN
estimates. A peace roadmap, brokered by the leaders of France,
Germany, Russia and Ukraine in February, dubbed the Minsk-2
agreement, stipulates heavy weapons should be pulled back from
the frontline and that a security zone should separate the
warring sides as they engage in a political dialogue to bring
about a constitutional reform.