On July 22nd, the sides in the conflict in eastern Ukraine – the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) and forces the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) reached a “harvest” ceasefire agreement, through a Normandy Four-format of negotiation, with representatives of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France in attendance.
Following is a short sum-up providing an overview of what each side claims it “receives” from the other and how that is presented in the over-all “neutral” reports by the OSCE.
The data presents information from the Ukrainian Armed Forces over the period from July 8th to August 8th, with the same being true for the information for the DPR and LPR.
Due to the way the OSCE makes it bi-weekly reports, the information provided is from July 1st to July 28th, since the next report is due in several days. But it, too, presents a picture of “before and after” of the “harvest” ceasefire.
In total, the Ukrainian side reported it had observed 292 violations by the “Russian-backed forces,” as it doesn’t specifically report if the LPR or DPR “did it.”
On July 22nd, Ukraine noted no violations.
There was a noticeable reduction following the July 22nd ceasefire. Over the entire period 10 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 30 were wounded. 4 of those were killed after the ceasefire, and according to the DPR and LPR they died by stepping on a landmine, while the Ukrainian side claims they were struck by the shelling in one of the reported cases of violations.
One civilian was killed in a grenade blast, prior to July 22nd.
Following is the information reported by the DPR and LPR. From the data one obvious stands out – the DPR is taking the blunt of Ukrainian Armed Forces, simply because Donetsk is much closer to the separation line. The LPR receives quite the small number of attacks.
According to the DPR:
Over the entire period it was subject to 332 violations, and still there was a reduction following the ceasefire, but there were no days without any violations. Even on July 22nd, the DPR noted 5 ceasefire violations.
Victims are unclear, since the DPR in its reports doesn’t say if there were any victims, it reports on civilian infrastructure, which seldom gets damaged. But it appears that the UAF are attempting to target civilian infrastructure such as power plants, water purifying stations and simply residential areas.
According to the LPR:
Over the period there were 46 violations, there was no noticeable reduction from before and after the ceasefire agreement. Most days it saw no violations, with the most in one day being 5.
No civilian casualties were reported and some civilian infrastructure was damaged. Similarly to the DPR, it appears that the UAF are attempting to “starve” out the LPR, or maybe they’re just quite bad at aiming properly.
In its weekly reports the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine doesn’t provide specific data on who exactly carried out the violations:
Regardless, the date over two separate two-week periods are as follows:
- Between July 1st and 14th – 3 civilians were killed and 13 injured. The SMM recorded over 14,000 ceasefire violations.
- Between July 15th and July 28th – no civilian deaths were recorded. he SMM recorded over 6,000 ceasefire violations. Over 75 percent of ceasefire violations were recorded in the first six days of the reporting period, prior to the recommitment coming into effect.
So, from July 1st to 28th there were approximately 6,000 ceasefire violations. The ones reported by the sides are approximately 700. Even keeping in mind that the DPR reporting sometimes also mentions how many exactly shells the UAF launched, the number still doesn’t come nearly as high as these numbers.
So, it is quite apparent that somebody is misrepresenting what exactly is going on. But, more than anything, the massive discrepancy is due to the fact that the OSCE’s SMM counts each specific shot as one “violation,” while Ukraine, the DPR/LPR count each occasion of shelling as a separate “violation” and not each specific shot thereof.
On August 8, Ukraine’s Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said that its counterintelligence forces had detained a citizen of Russia in Chernihiv region. The SBU claimed that the detained person was preparing to a sabotage attack on a military airport.
“During the authorized investigative actions at the place of residence of a perpetrator, the law enforcers confiscated three improvised explosive devices, almost two kilos of chemicals, electric detonators, two types of the explosives, annotations with the chemical formulas, specialized literature and schemes of the creation of the explosives. Besides, the materials were found which witness the gathering of the information at the object of diversion by a foreigner,” 112 Ukraine TV channel reported.
Regardless the real facts behind the detention, media coverage on it will contribute to a further destabilization of the sitaution in eastern Ukraine. The SBU is well known for detaining ordinary people and fabricating ‘terrorism-related’ crimes with political purposes.
On August 9, the DPR released a statement saying that the SBU has increased pressure, including physical threats and psychological pressure, on relatives of members of DPR self-defense forces. The goal of these efforts is to force them to participate in intelligence gathering operations against the DPR. The DPR recalled illegal detentions, tourtoring and hidden detention camps (so-called black sites) that are widely practiced by the Kiev government. The DPR representative emphasized that this behaviour does not help to settle the conflict rather contributing to its escalation.
Indeed, the current situation on the contact line between DPR/LPR forces and pro-Kiev forces does not seem to be corresponding with ‘peace-making’ remarks by recently elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
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