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OSCE observers notice small-arms fire around Donetsk airport and activity near Mariupol

Small-arms fire from the north-west is assessed to have occurred in or around the Donetsk airport on Mar 3, says the last report by the OSCE Monitoring Mission to Ukraine.

According to the OSCE website, “the SMM, based on its monitoring – which was restricted by third parties and by security considerations – assessed the security situation in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as relatively calm, but noted continued fighting in certain locations, notably on the outskirts of Donetsk city, and continued military activity around the village of Shyrokyne, close to Mariupol.”

More specifically, at 12:35am on March 3, the observers heard the sound of approximately 40 explosions, assessed to have been incoming Grad Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) rounds, thought to have impacted in or around the Donetsk airport.

According to the report, at the headquarters of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) in government-controlled Soledar (77km north of Donetsk), the SMM was shown JCCC incident logs, which recorded 24 alleged ceasefire violations for the 24-hour period preceding 08:00hrs, 3 March, half of which allegedly occurred in or around villages close to the Donetsk airport. The logs also alleged that three Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel had been killed and nine wounded.

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“At the JCCC office in government-controlled Starobilsk (84km north-west of Luhansk), a Ukrainian Armed Forces commander – a member of the JCCC – informed the SMM that he had not been given orders to monitor the withdrawal of weapons from the line of contact. He, however, said that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had removed MT-12 artillery pieces from Sector A, one of four sectors along the contact line stretching from the Ukrainian-Russian Federation state border to government-controlled Zolote (60km north-west of Lugansk). He said they had been moved to locations 25 kilometers from the contact line, and plans had already been drawn up to remove other types of artillery pieces,” the report says.

Earlier, representative of the Defense Ministry of the Donetsk People’s Republic Eduard Basurin said that on Tuesday the Ukrainian armed forces broke the ceasefire regime eleven times, which means that they are not implementing their obligations to withdraw their heavy weapons from the contact line.

“On Tuesday night and on Wednesday, we registered numerous provocations near Vodyanoye, Opytnoye and Peski. From there the Ukrainian armed forces fired our positions near Donetsk Airport. They also fired at the villages of Gorlovka and Spartak,” Basurin said.

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