VIENNA, January 23. /TASS/. The Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Ukraine of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) reported no movement of military hardware at the border checkpoint near the settlement of Uspenka on the territory controlled by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), according to the SMM’s daily update for January 21 posted on its website on Friday.
“At the DPR-controlled border crossing point in Uspenka (94km south-east of Donetsk) the SMM observed seven armed 'border crossing guards' and three 'customs officers' affiliated to the DPR on duty at the crossing point,” the report says. “The SMM, which remained at the border crossing point for approximately 90 minutes, observed that the flow of outbound traffic was very heavy with 96 vehicles, mostly small cars and minivans, waiting to cross into the Russian Federation, whilst little traffic was observed coming from the opposite direction.”
“The SMM spoke with a group of civilians, men, women and children of different ages, who were leaving DPR-controlled area for the Russian Federation,” the report said. These people, according to the SMM, were coming from Donetsk, Makeyevka, Gorlovka, Razdolnoye and Starobeshevo (all located in the DPR territory), who “told the SMM that they were leaving because of the recent shelling and social and economic problems they faced.”
“All of the families expressed their desire to return to their homes when the conflict was over,” the OSCE monitors said, adding that the refugees were leaving to stay with their relatives in Russia’s southern Rostov and Krasnodar regions.