Spot report by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), 18 February 2015: SMM facilitates dialogue on ceasefire and access to Debaltseve
This report is provided for the media and general public
On 17 February, the SMM went to the headquarters of the JCCC, temporarily relocated to Soledar (77km north of Donetsk, government-controlled). The SMM was present at four video conference sessions with the Russian General formerly representing the Russian Federation at the JCCC, the Russian Major-General, Representative of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to the JCCC and the Ukrainian Major-General, Head of the Ukrainian side to the JCCC and members of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and the “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”). Representatives of the Presidential Administration and the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were also present.
Negotiations focussed on the SMM’s access to Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk), and continued throughout the day. The SMM encouraged each side to confirm that they were willing and able to cease fire, in line with their earlier agreements. Some participants estimated that about 2,500 civilians remained in Debaltseve. SMM reminded participants of the likelihood of civilian casualties, if they failed to honour the agreement to the ceasefire. The representative of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said the Ukrainian Armed Forces were willing to cease fire. The “DPR” and “LPR” were not willing to do so. The SMM noted that this refusal to cease fire was in clear contravention to their earlier agreement to do so and amounted to a restriction of the Mission’s freedom of movement.
The SMM will return to Soledar on 18 February to continue to pursue the possibility of conducting a patrol to Debaltseve.