Ambassador Apakan calls for immediate cessation of violence in the Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport area
KYIV, 31 January 2017 - Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Ertugrul Apakan, today called for the immediate cessation of fighting in the Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport area in eastern Ukraine.
“Escalation in the area is of grave concern, with the civilian population greatly suffering,” the Chief Monitor said. “Violence on such a scale, involving the loss of life, is unacceptable and the protection of civilians must be paramount,” he added. Apakan said that the SMM has reported on civilian casualties and observed damage to civilian homes and infrastructure. He noted, in particular, that there had been damage to the water filtration plant in Yasynuvata, upon which thousands of people on both sides of the contact line depend for heating, electricity and water.
The Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport triangle has long been a focus of fighting. The latest developments – with the OSCE SMM recording thousands of ceasefire violations on a daily basis, including the use of proscribed weapons – constitute a serious deterioration and a violation of the Minsk agreements. Apakan called on the sides to immediately cease fire and withdraw such weapons beyond agreed lines. He urged the sides to prioritise the protection of the civilian population. The Chief Monitor added it was imperative that the OSCE SMM be given immediate, safe and unhindered access to the affected area, in order to allow for verification of compliance with the sides’ obligations on ceasefire and withdrawal of weapons.