DAMASCUS, SYRIA (03:20 PM) – The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) states in a report published in Tuesday that the situation at the frontline between Ukraine and the de facto independent Donetsk People’s Republic had deteriorated significantly in recent days.
The OSCE report noted no less tha 16,000 violations of the official ceasefire to have taken place in just seven days, between December 11 and 17, an increase of 35% with the already violent week before.
“We note with concern a sharp deterioration in the security situation with ceasefire violations reaching levels not recorded since February this year,” chief monitor Ertugrul Apakan said.
The ceasefire was put in place in February 2015, in order to put an end to armed combat that had been ravaging the region since early 2014, but has been violated many times since.
The situation deteriorated ever more after Monday’s attack on the village of Novoluhanske. At least eight civilians were wounded and more than 50 buildings were damaged in the Monday shelling, resulting in over 2,000 displaced refugees. The Ukrainian military accused the pro-Russia forces of “deliberately firing” more than 40 times at the village, but the armed forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic deny the allegation, stating that the shelling was likely a false flag attack by Ukrainian soldiers in order to justify retaliatory strikes.
The Donetsk forces furthermore stated that Ukrainian artillery strikes on their positions had almost doubled in the past 24 hours.
Conflict began to brew in Ukraine when the Western-backed so-called EuroMaidan movement removed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych from power, and installed a new, pro-western regime that was backed by numerous right-wing organisations, mainly in the West. The eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk however, both of which were Russian areas within Ukraine, saw growing discontent with the new Kiev regime.
In March 2014, the originally Russian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea voted in a referendum for a return to unification with Russia, which happened successfully. Not soon after, conflict began in Donetsk and Lugansk as well, which resulted in the declaration of independence of both the Donetsk and the Lugansk People’s Republic.