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OSCE reports assisting in Ukrainian military crossing into Russia

August 05, 2014, 18:42 UTC+3 VIENNA
Observer mission received calls on August 1-2 “from officers of the 72nd mechanized infantry brigade who claimed that around 600 Ukrainian servicemen were surrounded by separatists
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© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Rumin

VIENNA, August 05. /ITAR-TASS/. The OSCE has reported assisting in opening a passageway to the Gukovo border crossing point (BCP) in Russia for several hundred Ukrainian servicemen over the past few days.

A report of the observer mission (OM) on August 4 said it received calls on August 1-2 “from officers of the 72nd mechanized infantry brigade who claimed that around 600 Ukrainian servicemen were surrounded by separatists and left without ammunition, fuel and food. According to them, negotiations with the separatists to open a passageway had failed”.

“The officers asked for the OM’s assistance in facilitating the transfer at the BCP and reached out to their leadership in the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense to accept this option,” it continued.

It said “the OM relayed the information to the Russian authorities to permit the safe transfer and received agreement”. “On 2 August, 12 servicemen of the 72nd brigade crossed the border through the Gukovo BCP at 22.00” and were brought to a transit facility, the report went on.

“The Russian arranged for transportation of the 12 servicemen, who crossed the border back into Ukraine during the night of 3-4 August,” it said.

“From 00:45 to 10:20 on 4 August, a total of 347 servicemen (including 147 border guards) crossed into Russia in well-organized waves of 100 and were transferred to the transit facility. The wounded servicemen were given first aid and were sent by ambulance to hospital,” the report said. Under the document, the crossing became possible after the commanding officer of the 72nd brigade met with OSCE observers at the Gukovo border crossing point in the presence of the Gukovo BCP commander.

”At 06:00 on 4 August, while Ukrainian servicemen were still crossing the border into Russia, the OM heard explosions and gunfire of various caliber and witnessed considerable black fumes coming from the position previously held by the 72nd brigade on the territory of Ukraine,” the document said. It also pointed to sporadic but heavy gunfire and shells heard and seen, including shells falling into Russia throughout August 4.

The report said that at 15:00 on August 4, 192 servicemen “were already on their way by bus to Ukraine”. The mission also said there had been no asylum requests.

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