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OSCE - Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

06/05/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/05/2020 11:19

OSCE SMM Spot Report 30/2020: Members of the armed formations continued to deny SMM patrols passage at checkpoints in Donetsk and Luhansk regions

From 30 May to 5 June, members of the armed formations again denied SMM attempts to cross into non-government-controlled areas along official crossing routes: six times in Donetsk region and four times in Luhansk region, while further attempts to cross into government-controlled areas were also denied, once in Donetsk region and three times in Luhansk region.

On 30 and 31 May and on 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 June, at a checkpoint south of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (15km north-east of Luhansk), members of the armed formations again denied the SMM passage towards non-government-controlled areas on four occasions, and passage towards government-controlled areas on three other occasions, each time referring to the closure of the checkpoint due to COVID-19.

On 31 May and on 4 June, at a checkpoint 600m west of Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, non-government-controlled, 85km south of Donetsk), members of the armed formations again denied the SMM passage towards non-government-controlled areas, referring to quarantine restrictions due to COVID-19.

On 1 and 3 June, at a checkpoint near Horlivka (non-government-controlled, 39km north-east of Donetsk), members of the armed formations again denied the SMM passage towards non-government-controlled areas, on both occasions referring to quarantine restrictions due to COVID-19.

On 2 June, at a checkpoint near Olenivka (non-government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk), members of the armed formations again denied the SMM passage towards government-controlled areas on one occasion and again denied passage towards non-government-controlled areas on another occasion, both times referring to quarantine restrictions due to COVID-19.

On 5 June, at a checkpoint near Oleksandrivka (non-government-controlled, 20km south-west of Donetsk), members of the armed formations denied the SMM passage towards non-government-controlled areas, referring to quarantine restrictions due to COVID-19. In addition, on 30 May, the Mission was unable to proceed towards non-government-controlled areas due to the presence of metal bars and a pile of tyres at the same checkpoint.

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.

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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.