OSCE: Conflicting Donbass sides not withdrawing heavy arms, continuing to move troops

The presence of heavy armaments along the Donbas contact line and the movement of troops observed by OSCE monitors may deteriorate the situation, OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (OSCE SMM) Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug has said.

The presence of heavy armaments along the Donbas contact line and the movement of troops observed by OSCE monitors may deteriorate the situation, OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (OSCE SMM) Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug has said.

He told a press briefing in Kiev on July 23 that the monitors were observing the presence of heavy armaments and movement of military vehicles carrying servicemen and hardware in the territories controlled by the self-proclaimed Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republics and by the Ukrainian government. For instance, the monitors have observed 120mm mortars, Grad rocket launchers, ammo trucks and T-64 tanks with additional equipment. There is a threat of escalation of the hostilities in the army operation zone, Hug said, adding that the situation was at odds with the Minsk agreements.

The monitors have also observed the energetic reinforcement of defenses along the contact line, which is confirmed with data collected by drones, Hug said.

The deputy chief monitor reported cases of drone jamming. A mission drone was subjected to military-grade jamming east of Mariupol on July 17, which was one of the incidents arranged by the DPR, he said. The jammed drone made a crash landing near Mangush, Hug said, noting that the mission condemned such acts of censorship.

He also said that 14 observers had joined the OSCE SMM over the past week and that their total number had grown to 516.

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