Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak stated in his interview with Bild that hostilities continue in the Donbas despite the announced ceasefire.
“Every fifteen minutes I receive data from the front. Yesterday, we had thirty violations of the ceasefire that resulted in the death of one Ukrainian soldier and injuries to seven more servicemen. In addition, militants used weapons such as mortars and artillery, which are prohibited by the Minsk Agreements. I mean, there were fewer violations but the truce hasn’t been taking place,” Poltorak said.
The minister of defense noted that ten Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and many injured in the Donbas since September 1. Since early 2016 there have been 945 losses, including 168 soldiers and officers killed. Poltorak also stated that observers from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission don’t have all the necessary means to monitor the situation on the observance of the truce in due course.
“Firstly, we must admit that OSCE, in my opinion, doesn’t have all the necessary means to monitor the situation in due course. As for the Ukrainian Army, we do not use any weapons as long as our soldiers aren’t threatened by enemy fire,” the minister assured. The indefinite ceasefire in the Donbas, which began on September 1st, was agreed upon in Minsk in late August. However, the parties to the conflict have continued to accuse each other of violating the agreement.
The framework agreement on the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the Donbas, providing for de-escalation along the line of contact and creating the conditions under which small arms can’t be used, was signed in Minsk on September 21.