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Ukraine: OSCE SMM Spot Report 25/2020: Members of the armed formations continued to deny SMM patrols passage at checkpoints in Donetsk and Luhansk regions

Country: Ukraine Source: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe On 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 May, members of the armed formations again denied SMM attempts to cross into non-government-controlled areas along official crossing routes: eight times in Donetsk region and three times in Luhansk region, while further attempts to cross into government-controlled areas were also denied, twice in Donetsk region and four times in Luhansk region. On 16, 17, 19, 20, 21 and 22 May, at a checkpoint south of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (15km north-east of Luhansk), members of the armed formations again denied SMM patrols passage towards non-government-controlled areas on three occasions, and passage towards government-controlled areas on three other occasions, referring to the closure of the checkpoint due to COVID-19. On 18 May, a member of the armed formations granted an SMM patrol passage towards government-controlled areas but stipulated that the patrol would be subject to quarantine restrictions upon its return to non-government-controlled areas. Based on this condition, the patrol did not travel towards government-controlled areas. On 18 and 22 May, at a checkpoint near Oleksandrivka (non-government-controlled, 20km south-west of Donetsk), members of the armed formations again denied SMM patrols passage towards non-government-controlled areas, referring to quarantine restrictions due to COVID-19. On 18 and 22 May, at a checkpoint near Olenivka (non-government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk), members of the armed formations again denied SMM patrols passage towards government-controlled areas on two occasions, stating that the SMM did not have permission to pass, and again denied passage towards non-government-controlled areas on two other occasions, referring to quarantine restrictions due to COVID-19. On 16 May, at a checkpoint near Horlivka (non-government-controlled, 39km north-east of Donetsk), an SMM patrol was again unable to proceed towards non-government-controlled areas due to the presence of spikes across the road and the presence of a mine sign in the middle of the road. The SMM saw no members of the armed formations present at the checkpoint. On 20 May, at the same checkpoint, members of the armed formations again denied an SMM patrol passage towards non-government-controlled areas, referring to quarantine restrictions due to COVID-19. On 17 and 21 May, at a checkpoint 600m west of Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, non-government-controlled, 85km south of Donetsk), members of the armed formations again denied SMM patrols passage towards non-government-controlled areas, providing no explanation on one occasion and referring to quarantine restrictions due to COVID-19 on another occasion. The Mission began facing repeated denials when attempting to cross into non-government-controlled areas at checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk region on 21 March and Luhansk region on 23 March (see previous SMM Spot Reports). They restrict the SMM s freedom of movement across the contact line, thus impeding the implementation of its mandate throughout the country. With regard to COVID-19, the SMM has introduced a number of stringent mitigation measures into its operational procedures. These include strict adherence to social distancing rules both internally and with external interlocutors, daily temperature checks, use of PPE and minimizing the number of personnel in vehicles. Contacts Dragana Nikolic-Solomon
Chief of Press and Public Information Unit
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine
26 Turhenievska Street
01054 Kyiv
Ukraine
Office: +380 44 392 08 55
Mobile: +380 95 291 99 18
Dragana.Nikolic-Solomon@osce.org
smm-press@osce.org Iryna Korobko
National Media Officer
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine
26 Turhenievska Street
01054 Kyiv
Ukraine
Office: +380 44 392 09 84
Mobile: +380 67 235 38 16
iryna.korobko@osce.org
smm-press@osce.org


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