MOSCOW, August 18. /TASS/. The shelling of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) by Ukrainian troops has become less intensive as the deputy chief monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Commission (SMM), Alexander Hug, visits the troubled eastern republic, DPR defense ministry has told the Donetsk News Agency.
"Over the past 24 hours, troops have violated the ceasefire 23 times," a ministry source said, adding that the use of multiple-launch rocket systems and artillery has reduced by three times. Ukrainian military commanders were acting more cautiously in connection with the arrival of an OSCE SMM official, he said.
The source said the cities of Donetsk, Yasinovataya and Dokuchayevsk, the settlements of Spartak, Krasny Partizan, Staromikhailovskaya, Yasnoye, Yelenovka and Zhabichevo have come under artillery and mortar fire over the past 24 hours.
A total of 56 artillery shells, nine tank shells, 52 mines were fired, and Ukrainian troops also used grenade launchers and small arms, the officer said.
The OSCE SMM to Ukraine was deployed in late March 2014 and its mandate has been extended until March 31, 2016. The mission’s tasks are to observe and report in an objective way on the situation in Ukraine and facilitate dialogue among the conflicting parties.
The Donbas region ceasefire formally came into force on February 15. Requirements to halt hostilities were envisaged in a package of measures for implementing peace accords signed in Minsk, Belarus, three days before.
Authorities of the two territories have repeatedly said observance of the truce depended entirely on the Ukrainian side.