OSCE - Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

04/26/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/26/2021 11:33

Spot Report 12/2021: Members of the armed formations again denied the SMM passage at the checkpoint near Olenivka, Donetsk region

On the morning of 26 April, an SMM patrol travelling from non-government-controlled Donetsk city, consisting of two vehicles, one trailer and five mission members, arrived at the checkpoint of the armed formations near Olenivka (non-government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk) to conduct an exchange of trailers with a second SMM patrol arriving from government-controlled areas.

At 10:35, while at the checkpoint, a member of the armed formations approached the first patrol and asked the SMM to open the doors and trunks of the SMM vehicles for a visual inspection. The patrol refused the request and remained stationary at the checkpoint.

At 11:05, members of the armed formations requested that each mission member fill out a 'declaration of goods' indicating everything in the SMM vehicles and the trailer. The patrol refused to do so.

At 12:50, members of the armed formations handed over a document to the patrol stating that the Mission cannot cross the checkpoint.

At 13:30, the patrol left the checkpoint and returned to Donetsk city.

Since 1 March, the Mission has faced similar denials in Donetsk region six times: three times at the same checkpoint of the armed formations near Olenivka, on 1 March, 15 March, and 17 April; and three times at the checkpoint near Oleksandrivka (non-government-controlled, 20km south-west of Donetsk), on 31 March, 2 April and 8 April (see SMM Spot Reports 1/2021, 3/2021, 4/2021, 5/2021, 7/2021, and 9/2021).

On all occasions, 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 Mission again notes that such denials at checkpoints of the armed formations not only restrict the SMM's freedom of movement across the contact line, but also prevents the SMM's logistical operations, which are essential for implementation of its tasks.

The 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, as well as other mandated tasks. The mandate also tasks the Mission to report on any restrictions of its freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate.