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OSCE reports truce violations in east Ukraine after Sep 1 relative calm

September 03, 2015, 18:30 UTC+3 VIENNA
In the town of Gorlovka controlled by the Donetsk republic’s militia, "the SMM observed 19 artillery or mortar impacts approximately 3-5km south-west of their position"
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Ukrainian soldier in Donbas

Ukrainian soldier in Donbas

© AP Photo/Max Black

VIENNA, September 3. /TASS/. International observers monitoring the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine on Thursday reported that violations had been once again registered in some areas of the Donetsk region after a short period of relative calm on September 1.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s special monitoring mission (SMM) to Ukraine said in its latest report, observers at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation point at Donetsk railway station, north-west of Donetsk city centre, "heard five ceasefire violations over a ten-hour period: two in an area 3-5km west, two 5-8km south-south-west of its position and one from an indeterminate area".

In the town of Gorlovka, north-east of Donetsk, which is controlled by the Donetsk republic’s militia, "the SMM observed 19 artillery or mortar impacts approximately 3-5km south-west of their position", said the report based on information received as of September 2.

The overall security situation in the Luhansk region was calm, and the SMM observed no ceasefire violations, the OSCE mission said.

At a checkpoint near Stanitsa Luganskaya, north-east of Luhansk, which is controlled by the Luhansk republic’s militia, "armed men told the SMM there had been no shelling or small arms fire in the last two days", the report said.

In its previous report based on information received as of September 1, the mission said it had "monitored a peaceful start to the new school year in numerous schools". Few ceasefire violations were recorded, "exclusively at or around Donetsk airport", Wednesday’s report said.

The OSCE monitoring mission to Ukraine was deployed more than a year ago following a request from Ukraine. It delivers public reports on fighting between forces loyal to Kiev and people’s militias as well as on movements on border crossings between Russia and Ukraine.

Under terms of the peace deal agreed by leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France in the Belarusian capital Minsk on February 12, the ceasefire regime came into effect at midnight on February 15.

This was to be followed by withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of military engagement by at least 15 kilometres (9 miles), prisoner release and agreement for international observers sent by the 57 member states of the OSCE to monitor the truce.

Withdrawal was due to start no later than the second day after the truce came into effect, for completion within two weeks.

Buffer zones were to be established of at least 50 kilometres (30 miles) for artillery of 100mm-calibre or more, 70 kilometres for multiple rocket launch systems and 140 kilometres for the heaviest rockets and missiles.

Both sides accuse each other of violating the ceasefire agreed in Minsk despite the pull-back of heavy weapons, and casualties are reported almost daily.

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