Chief Monitor of the Mission, Yaşar Halit Çevik stated this at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, the Mission’s press service reported.
“The Mission observed a five-fold increase of military hardware located close to the contact line, including in and near residential areas. Periods of heightened tensions were accompanied by spikes of violence, leading to a rise in civilian casualties. In the reporting period, the Mission corroborated 26 civilian casualties, 21 of them as a result of shelling,” Çevik said.
Between April 4 and June 20, the Monitoring Mission recorded more than 1,300 ceasefire violations involving the use of weapons that should have been withdrawn in accordance with the Minsk agreements.
According to the Chief Monitor, in the same period, 40 public and private properties, such as essential civilian infrastructure objects, schools, churches, houses were damaged. He called on the sides to remove weapons and positions located in and near residential areas on both sides of the contact line.
“The situation of civilians is additionally complicated because entry-exit checkpoints are closed, due to measures taken in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, people are not able to collect their pensions or receive medical treatment,” said Çevik.
He also noted that the Mission’s freedom of movement in non-government-controlled areas had been increasingly restricted in the past few months, preventing the Mission Members from being able to enter them. He underlined the importance for the SMM to operate with the same procedures throughout the country.
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