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OSCE mission uses drones to collect data on bus shelling in Donetsk Region

January 16, 2015, 3:24 UTC+3 VIENNA
The situation in the region recently deteriorated when a passenger bus bound from Donetsk to Zlatoustovka was shelled on January 13. Twelve civilians were killed and at least 16 wounded
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© AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky

VIENNA, January 15. /TASS/. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine has used drones to collect data on a recent deadly bus shelling in the Donetsk Region, the OSCE said in a statement.

The situation in the region recently deteriorated when a passenger bus bound from Donetsk to Zlatoustovka was shelled on January 13. Twelve civilians were killed and at least 16 wounded.

“The SMM continued to monitor the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum and the work of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC). The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) gathered imagery and video data of shell impact craters at Volnovakha where a bus was hit on 13 January,” it said.

“All sides agreed upon drafting a joint protocol that will mandate the JCCC to conduct a special investigation concerning this incident. The agreement included a security guarantee and free access to the incident site for the Russian Federation representatives at the JCCC and “DPR” members,” the statement said.

“The investigation is planned to take place on 15 January. The SMM will monitor the JCCC-led investigation, continue its observations and establish its own findings regarding the incident,” it said.

Kiev’s military operation designed to regain control over the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk regions in Ukraine’s southeast on the border with Russia, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People's republics (DPR and LPR), conducted since mid-April 2014, has left thousands of people dead, brought destruction and forced hundreds of thousands to flee.

The parties to the intra-Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire during talks mediated by the OSCE on September 5, 2014 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.

Numerous violations of the ceasefire, which took effect the same day, have been reported since.

A memorandum was adopted on September 19, 2014 in Minsk by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE. The document outlined the parameters for the implementation of commitments on the ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.

The nine-point memorandum in particular envisioned a ban on the use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons with the calibers of over 100 millimeters to a distance of 15 kilometers from the contact line from each side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions.

A "day of silence" in eastern Ukraine began at 09:00 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) on December 9 last year. It is seen as another attempt by both parties to the intra-Ukrainian conflict to put an end to hostilities. Both Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics voiced the necessity to start withdrawal of heavy armaments, swap prisoners and demilitarize the region.

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