04/02/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/02/2021 12:02
In the late morning on 2 April, an SMM patrol traveling from non-government-controlled Donetsk city, consisting of three vehicles with three trailers and six mission members, arrived at the checkpoint of the armed formations near Oleksandrivka (non-government-controlled, 20km south-west of Donetsk) to conduct an exchange of trailers with a second SMM patrol arriving from government-controlled areas. At 11:56, a member of the armed formations approached the first patrol and asked the SMM to open the trailers for a visual inspection. The patrol refused the request and remained stationary at the checkpoint.
During the next hours, the SMM undertook efforts to facilitate the patrol's crossing that would enable the exchange of trailers, but the vehicles were not allowed to pass.
The patrol, after waiting for more than two hours, was hence unable to proceed. It left the checkpoint at 14:02 and returned to non-government-controlled Donetsk city.
In recent weeks, the Mission has faced similar denials three times in Donetsk region: two times at the checkpoint of the armed formations near Olenivka on 1 and 15 March, and on 31 March at the same checkpoint near Oleksandrivka (see SMM Spot Reports 1/2021, 3/2021 and 4/2021).
Such denials at checkpoints of the armed formations restrict the SMM's freedom of movement across the contact line.
The SMM notes that OSCE Permanent Council Decision No. 1117 specifies that the SMM shall have safe and secure access throughout Ukraine. Unrestricted and unconditional access to all areas is essential to ensure effective monitoring and reporting of the security situation, the ceasefire, the withdrawal of weapons, demining, as well as disengagement. The mandate also tasks the Mission to report on any restrictions of its freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate.