Press Statement of Special Representative of OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Martin Sajdik
KYIV, 7 February 2017 - I welcome that as of today, fighting in the area of Avdiivka – Yasinuvata has significantly decreased.
The Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), in close co-operation with the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), has successfully negotiated ceasefire arrangements which enabled repair teams, civil society and international humanitarian organizations to restore power and water supply and to assist the local population. During more than a week of joint efforts, all those people on the ground have displayed extraordinary commitment and thereby prevented a far greater humanitarian disaster. It is inadmissible that on several occasions civilian repair teams have come under attack, which put their lives at risk and delayed rehabilitation of essential infrastructure. All sides must strictly adhere to their obligation to facilitate humanitarian efforts and to protect the civilian population!
We are still far from a full and sustainable ceasefire, to which all sides have committed at our last Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) consultations on 1 February. Ceasefire can only be achieved through unconditional withdrawal of all weapons regulated by the Minsk agreements. In particular, heavy weapons must be immediately withdrawn from residential areas. The indiscriminate use of heavy weapons in residential areas is irresponsible and constitutes an open violation of the Minsk agreements and international humanitarian law.
The TCG will closely follow developments in the area, including through extraordinary consultations if necessary. I fully support the relentless efforts of the SMM to further stabilize the situation in the area, including the appeals and constructive proposals on the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure addressed by the Chief Monitor Ertugrul Apakan to the signatories of the Minsk agreements.