Significant cease-fire violations recorded in Ukraine

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A reminder of the deadly destruction in the conflict in Mykolaivka in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. Photo: WFP/Abeer Etefa

Ukraine has witnessed the highest number of cease-fire violations in months, a chief monitor with Europe's Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) has told the UN Security Council.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine is entering its third year, although the Minsk ceasefire agreement was signed in 2015 between the government and rebel forces.

Over 9,300 people have been killed and close to 21,400 wounded since the beginning of the conflict in mid-April 2014.

Jocelyne Sambira has the story.

Days of relative calm are followed by periods of intense escalation, according to Ertugrul Apakan, the head of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM).

In a briefing to the Security Council on Thursday, he said a key factor behind the ceasefire violations is that armed factions are standing too close together.

Mr Apakan said monitors have expanded their presence on both sides of the contact line, the line separating Ukraine's armed forces and armed separatists.

"Just recently, in the week from 11 to 17 April, the Mission has observed particularly intensive violence between Avdiivka and Yasynuvata, to the north of Donetsk. This was the highest level of violence observed since August 2015. Armed violence has continued also around the city of Zaitseve, around Horlivka and around Svitlodarsk and Debaltseve. An upsurge in ceasefire violations has also taken place in the south of Donetsk region and in Luhansk region. Heavy weapons are in frequent use."

The SMM has some 700 international monitors from 47 countries on the ground and they are being attacked with impunity.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations. 

Duration: 1’28″

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