The number of instances of the use of heavy weapons in Donbas went up 230% over a period of one week, OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) Principal Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug said.
The security situation deteriorated last week and the number of situations involving the use of heavy weapons, specifically, tanks, mortars, and artillery, including multiple rocket launchers, went up 230%, Hug said at a news briefing in Kyiv on Friday.
Some 400 instances of the use of multiple rocket launchers cause the SMM's special concerns, Hug said.
Heavy weapons have not only not been withdrawn from the conflict line in Donbas, but the previously withdrawn weapons are returning to frontline positions, he said. In the past week, monitors registered the presence along the dividing line of 69 heavy weapons, 47 weapons were seen on the territories uncontrolled by Kyiv and 22 were seen on territories controlled by Kyiv, Hug said.
Specifically, OSCE monitors registered the absence of 20 howitzers in the anti-terrorist operation withdrawal locations, while 17 tanks and nine mortars were missing from DPR withdrawal locations, Hug said.
Hug said OSCE monitors continue seeing situations when the sides just do not want to show something to monitors. Armed people fired preventive shots in the populated area of Kreschatytske, controlled by the DPR, on Friday, Hug said, adding that monitors had seen two howitzers in the village. Hug also said an OSCE drone registering the presence of large-caliber weapons had been downed in the Yasynuvata area.
OSCE monitors' travel was restricted 31 times in the past week, including nine times on the Kyiv-controlled territories and 22 times on territories uncontrolled by Kyiv, Hug said. The culprits have not been named and have not been punished, he said.