VIENNA, July 23. /TASS/. The situation in the city of Donetsk and around it "was noticeably tenser than during the previous days," the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Ukraine of the European security watchdog OSCE said on Thursday in its daily report.
On Wednesday, SMM monitors of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) recorded 76 explosions of mortars and heavy artillery rounds in the area around the Donetsk central railway station, the document says. Also, they observed sporadic fire with the use of small arms, automatic grenade launchers and heavy machine guns.
"The security situation remained calm in Mariupol city," the SMM said noting they were allowed for the first time to visit three heavy weapon holding areas in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), to which the heavy weapons had been pulled out from the line of contact. Also, they revisited two heavy weapon holding areas in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).
At one heavy weapon holding area of Kiev troops, the SMM observed 18 pieces of 152mm towed guns.
"Despite claims by all sides that heavy weapons had been withdrawn, the SMM continued to observe heavy weapons in areas proscribed by the Minsk arrangements," the report reads.
The Minsk agreements, approved in the Belarusian capital on February 12 by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France alongside the Contact Group resolving the Ukraine conflict, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and people’s militias starting from February 15, followed by withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of contact and prisoner release. All heavy weapons are due to be pulled back by both parties to locations equidistant from the disengagement line in order to create a security zone at least 50 kilometers wide for artillery systems with a calibre of 100 mm or more, a zone of security 70 kilometers wide for multiple rocket launchers and a zone 140 kilometers wide for multiple rocket launchers Tornado-S, Uragan and Smerch and the tactical rocket systems Tochka-U.