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OSCE mission registers 550 explosions in Donbass in past day

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) reported fewer ceasefire violations in East Ukraine, with 550 explosions registered in the past 24 hours, the mission said in a report.

"The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region, with about 550 explosions, compared with the previous 24-hour period," reads the report posted on Tuesday evening.

According to the observers, in violation of the respective withdrawal lines the SMM observed the following in government-controlled areas: six towed howitzers (D-30, 122mm), two of which were attached to trucks, and 11 self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) near the village of Bogoyavlenka. A mini SMM UAV spotted two multiple-launch-rocket-systems (MLRS; BM-21 Grad, 122mm) near government-controlled settlement of Aslanove, 85km south of Donetsk.

In areas controlled by the self-proclaimed republics, the OSCE mission registered one howitzer (D-20, 152mm) towed by a truck and one T-64 tank.

The SMM observed weapons that could not be verified as withdrawn, as their storage does not comply with the previously set criteria. In government-controlled areas the SMM observed: 17 self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) and four surface-to-air missile systems (9K35 Strela-10, 120mm). The SMM continued to observe as missing 23 self-propelled howitzers (11 2S3 and 12 2S1).

The monitors revisited permanent storage sites in government-controlled areas, whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines, and noted that a total of seven tanks were missing from one of them.

Despite the joint statement of 1 February by members of the Trilateral Contact Group, the SMM received no information about the withdrawal of weapons from the area between the Donetsk airport, Avdeyevka and Yasinovataya.

On February 1, members the Contact Group on settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine held a meeting in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, demanding that hostilities in Donbass be stopped, weapons and military hardware be withdrawn from the line of contact area by February 5. However, according to the DPR Operational Command, instead of withdrawing weapons, Kiev has deployed more military hardware to the line of contact.

[Source: Itar Tass, Vienna, 08Feb17]

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