Statement by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine on civilian deaths in Donetsk
DONETSK, 24 January 2015 – On Thursday the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) looked into yet another tragic incident: our observations in Donetsk, Debaltseve and Volnovakha confirmed the injuries and loss of civilian lives during the past week.
Once again, the SMM expresses its deep concern about the increasing number of civilian casualties and calls on restraint of all parties, in particular to abstain from the use of force, including the use of heavy weapons such as unguided Grad rockets. The SMM strongly condemns the continuation of the fighting in residential areas. Using residential areas as firing positions attracts counter-firing to these areas, further endangering the lives of civilians.
The SMM urges all parties to immediately stop the fighting and withdraw heavy weapons and armed units from the airport and from all adjacent residential areas of Donetsk as agreed in the Minsk documents.
All parties need to take robust and immediate action in order to end the new escalation in fighting and its heavy toll on civilians.
The SMM is ready to facilitate all efforts to achieve and sustain a localised ceasefire at the area in and around the Donetsk airport and in the city centre, including a humanitarian pause to provide relief for the affected civilian population in Donetsk that faces a deteriorating humanitarian situation. The SMM, in line with its mandate, stands ready to enable dialogue to further reduce the level of tension.
The SMM urges all parties to fully respect the safety and security of SMM monitors on the ground, and to ensure they can fulfill their mandate.