January 21, 2016 21:25
Ukrainian military, militiamen occupying free areas near contact line in Donbas fraught with new clashes - OSCE
KYIV. Jan 21 (Interfax) - The sides in the conflict in eastern Ukraine are bringing their positions closer to the dividing line, First Deputy Chief Monitor of the Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE SMM) in Ukraine Alexander Hug said.
There was an erroneous opinion that the sides were bringing troops and military hardware forward to the disputed territories and thus the dividing line was allegedly changing; this was a myth, he told a press briefing in Kyiv on Thursday.
Because grey areas have never existed, there were some areas which are not under the control of either side, he said. Certainly, the movements were taking place, but they were taking place not across the contact line, he said. In fact, the sides were moving their positions closer to the contact line and were taking positions which have previously been free, he said.
Hug said that this was interpreted by some people as a threat or an attempted assault.
This really posed a threat, he said. No one expected a quick demobilization and the monitors did not expect that the sides would lay down arms in this situation, but the OSCE SMM hoped that they would honor the agreements, which create this security area, Hug said.
He cited as an example the movement of military hardware and troops in the area of the localities Pavlopil and Kominternove (in the Mariupol sector), where the Ukrainian forces and representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) were getting extremely close to each other, thus creating tension.
Hug also said that 679 monitors were on the OSCE SMM today
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