In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine continues to focus on the implementation of the Mandate while also ensuring the reduction of risks for the local population and the protection of Mission members. “Complemented by technical means, the Mission has adapted and continues to carry out core activities, including monitoring and reporting on the security situation in eastern Ukraine,” Çevik said in his first address since the extension of the SMM’s mandate.
He warned, however, that restrictions to the freedom of movement imposed by the armed formations “directly affect our ability to carry out our work as one integrated Mission.”
The Chief Monitor said that full and comprehensive implementation of the ceasefire has yet to materialize, with civilians continuing to pay the price. “The continued fighting around civilian infrastructure is all the more concerning in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, during which uninterrupted water and electricity supply is vital to protecting the health of civilians,” he said.
Noting that SMM medic Joseph Stone had died three years ago, after his patrol vehicle was hit most probably by an anti-tank mine, Çevik said the anniversary was “a stark reminder of the need to take urgent measures to protect civilians against the risk posed by these explosive objects.”
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