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Refugees afraid hostilities could resume in Ukraine — OSCE

September 12, 2014, 17:43 UTC+3 DONETSK

Only a few people expressed hope that the agreement on cessation of fire will bring a solid peace, it says

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DONETSK /Rostov Region/, September 12. /ITAR-TASS/. Most refugees from Ukraine who return to their country via Russia’s southern Rostov Region have told representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that they are afraid hostilities could resume in Ukraine, a senior OSCE official said Friday.

“Only a few people expressed hope that the agreement on cessation of fire will bring a solid peace. Most expressed a low level of trust in both parties to the conflict being afraid that hostilities may resume soon,” Paul Picard, the head of the OSCE mission in the Rostov Region, told journalists.

Picard noted that according to OSCE monitors’ data, far more refugees are currently returning to Ukraine than go to Russia.

“We’ve noticed that they go back by families and cross the border with children. The school year already started in some areas, and in some, schools will start working next week,” he said.

Picard added that Ukrainians also cross the border with the Russian Federation to buy food and withdraw cash from ATMs.

“But it is hard for them as they now have to wait for several hours due to big lines at the Donetsk and Gukovo border-crossing points where the mission’s mandate is valid,” he said.

Fierce clashes between troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions during Kiev’s military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR), have killed hundreds of civilians, brought massive destruction and forced hundreds of thousands to flee Ukraine’s southeast.

The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire during OSCE-mediated talks in Belarusian capital Minsk on September 5. The long hoped-for ceasefire took effect the same day.

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