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UN agency notes improvements in situation along contact line in Eastern Ukraine

The ceasefire that came into force on 27 July has now contributed to the longest period of relative calm since the beginning of the conflict in 2014

GENEVA, September 19. /TASS/. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted on Friday that the security situation along the line of contact in Eastern Ukraine has improved significantly since additional ceasefire control measures took effect on July 27.

UN OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke told reporters in Geneva that the number of security incidents recorded in August more than halved since July, from 533 to 251. No houses were damaged in August, with 50 such incidents reported in July. Five civilians were killed in the conflict zone in August, compared to 13 in July.

"In eastern Ukraine, the ceasefire that came into force on 27 July has now contributed to the longest period of relative calm since the beginning of the conflict in 2014," Laerke said.

"This reduction in hostilities has meant a 53% drop in security incidents and an even larger reduction in civilian casualties. Our colleagues in Ukraine tell us that this improvement has given people on both sides of the ‘contact line’ that divides eastern Ukraine a sense of normality, and people hope that it will become sustainable," he went on.

At the same time, according to the official, the UN was notified that "up till now we have not observed changes in terms of humanitarian access that could lead to a scaling up of humanitarian work, and that is largely due to restrictions imposed in response to COVID-19."

Additional measures to monitor compliance with the ceasefire that were agreed on by the members on the Contact Group on the situation in eastern Ukraine have been in effect in Donbass since July 27. They include a ban on offensive operations, reconnaissance and sabotage actions, on the use of aircraft, a ban on fire and the deployment of heavy weapons in populated areas. One of the most important provisions of the agreement is the use of disciplinary measures for violating the ceasefire, while return fire in the event of offensive operations is only allowed in case of a direct order from the command.