Invaders blocking SMM’s work in Donbas

Invaders blocking SMM’s work in Donbas

Ukrinform
On 28, 29 and 30 March, members of the armed formations again denied attempts of the SMM to travel towards non-government-controlled areas – seven times in Donetsk region, and three times in Luhansk region. 

According to an OSCE report, on 28 March, at a checkpoint east of Kreminets (non-government-controlled, 16km south-west of Donetsk) on road H-15, four members of the armed formations denied an SMM patrol – comprising three vehicles and three members travelling from government-controlled areas – passage towards non-government-controlled areas, citing “the closure of the checkpoint due to COVID-19”.

On 28, 29 and 30 March at a checkpoint 200m south of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (15km north-east of Luhansk), members of the armed formations denied the SMM passage towards non-government-controlled areas, citing “orders from superiors”.

On 28, 29 March and 30 March, at a checkpoint west of Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, non-government-controlled, 85km south of Donetsk), members of the armed formations (some of them visibly armed) denied the SMM passage towards non-government-controlled areas, citing “the closure of the checkpoint due to COVID-19” on 28 March, “demining activities in the area” on 29 March and “orders from superiors related to COVID-19” on 30 March.

On 28, 29 and 30 March, at a checkpoint near Olenivka (non-government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk), members of the armed formations (some of them visibly armed) again denied the SMM passage towards non-government-controlled areas, citing “the closure of the checkpoint” on 28 March, and providing no reason on the following two days.

In addition, on 30 March, at the boundary line between Donetsk and Luhansk regions near Debaltseve (non-government-controlled, 58km north-east of Donetsk), four members of the armed formations denied an SMM patrol – comprising two vehicles and four members travelling from non-government-controlled areas of Luhansk region – passage towards non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk region, citing “new rules concerning virus protocols” and “the requirement to provide health certificates” in order to pass.

The Mission began facing repeated denials when attempting to cross into non-government-controlled areas at checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk region on 21 March and Luhansk region on 23 March. They restrict the SMM’s freedom of movement across the contact line, thus impeding the implementation of its Mandate throughout the country.

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