In the afternoon of 26 December, the armed formations in Donetsk region denied the Mission’s passage to government-controlled areas. The SMM patrol was travelling from non-government-controlled areas of Luhansk region.
The denial occurred at 11:23 at a checkpoint of the armed formations on the north-western outskirts of Horlivka. A visibly armed member of the armed formations cited a “lack of prior notification”.
The SMM had preannounced its passage as a temporary, COVID-19 related courtesy.
For recent restrictions faced by the Mission when crossing the contact line, see previous SMM Spot Reports.
The Mission again notes that such denials not only restrict the SMM’s freedom of movement across the contact line, but also prevent the SMM’s logistical operations, which are essential for the effective functioning of the Mission.
The OSCE Permanent Council Decision No. 1117 specifies that the SMM shall have safe and secure access throughout Ukraine. Unrestricted and unconditional access to all areas is essential to ensure effective monitoring and reporting of the security situation, as well as other mandated tasks. The mandate also tasks the Mission to report on any restrictions of its freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate.