The Special Monitoring Mission of the OSCE in Ukraine (OSCE SMM) insists on the cessation of shelling of the Donetsk filtration plant by all sides of the conflict in the Donbas. This position was announced in a statement by the Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Ertugrul Apakan, which was published on Facebook on Friday, February 24.
"The shelling of the filtration plant, as well as the fact that, contrary to their promises, these parties have still not taken away all weapons, demonstrates a complete disregard for human life and the interests of the civilian population," stated the document. Apakan demanded that both sides "quickly call a cease-fire, withdraw weapons prohibited by the Minsk Agreement, and carry out withdrawal of military personnel and armor away from regions where the most important civilian infrastructure is located."
Given the fact that the plant supply clean drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people on both sides of the line, who are dependent on the plant as a water source, the consequences of the strikes go beyond just security risks to plant workers, the statement noted. The members of the monitoring mission did not rule out the possibility of environmental catastrophe. Because of the presence of station tanks with chlorine in the area, there is a risk of poison gas emission to the atmosphere.
The Letter of the Chairman of the OSCE SMM came after shells fell on the Donetsk filtration plant located in Yasynuvata overnight on February 24. As a result, the station was shut down and its staff had to be evacuated.
Apakan also condemned the shelling of OSCE observers, as well as the capture a mini-drone owned by the SMM, by separatists from the so-called DPR (Donestk People's Republic). The incident occurred in the middle of the day on February 24, when the mission staff tried to launch an unmanned aerial vehicle to monitor the area around the filtration plant. While brandishing weapons at the observers, the attackers captured drone; then, one of the men opened fire in the vicinity of the OSCE patrol.
"Shooting at unarmed civilian observers is a direct challenge to the collective will of 57 countries – both members of the OSCE and the Minsk agreements," said Apakan.