Premises of the Donetsk filter stations were damaged in the result of shelling from mortars with 82-caliber shells, according to the First Deputy Head of the OSCE special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine Alexander Hug at a briefing in the Ukrainian Crisis media center, QHA correspondent reports.
Alexander Hug showed pictures of the buildings damaged in the shelling of DFS captured with drone of the OSCE SMM at the day of shelling - February 24th.
“According to our estimates, these were 82-millimeter mortar shells. As you can see some of the damage caused to one of the water stations.”
Speaking of shooting circumstances, Alexander Hug said that the OSCE SMM observers were able to make photos, despite the fact that on that day militants of the so-called "DNR" committed armed provocations against them, and took away the UAV.
“Our observers were preparing to launch a drone to carry out monitoring of the situation in the territory of the DFS, which reportedly came under fire early in the morning. We actually managed to launch our drones twice in the morning and they have recorded four shell hits on the territory of the DFS.”
Alexander Hug also shown and commented on the map of the position around the DFS. He noted that the station is located almost on the line of contact, and heavy weapons, including mortars, must be withdrawn at a distance of 15 km (boundaries marked on the map). However, given that the shelling was carried out with a 82-millimeter mortar shells, some of the parties deployed the arms at the desired distance, so the firing was carried out from the security zone.
“On this map you can see the DFS - it is located almost on the line of contact - on both sides of the line of contact of breeding boundaries mortars at a distance of 15 km. Circle around the DFS shows the extent to which the most likely used 82-millimeter mortars, given the range of fire of the weapon. In fact, the weapon that fired the DFS, was deployed in violation of line of withdrawal.”
At the same time, Alexander Hug did not indicate which side carried out the bombardment.
Commenting on the firing of the DFS, the First Deputy Head of the OSCE SMM noted that the attack on the filter station is a flagrant disregard for the needs of the civilian population. A projectile hitting the tank with chlorine can cause large-scale ecological catastrophe. In addition, almost 400 000 inhabitants on both sides of the line of contact depend on the operation of the plant, which supplies clean drinking water to them. Now 22,000 residents of Avdiivka count only on the water reserves that are rapidly being depleted.
Alexander Hug went on saying that it was a rather unpleasant incident, which is another indication of the need to dissolve the parties to the conflict along the line of contact, and in particular, from the area around the filter plant.
Alexander Hug said that firing the station could not have been deliberate, but stressed that the incident on the DFS is a clear proof of the presence of prohibited weapons in the security zone.
“I do not believe that someone was deliberately targeting the station, but the sides are deployed too close to the station and very close to each other. And it is inevitable that the station caught in the crossfire. And it is inevitable that civilians will continue to pay for the refusal of the parties to disengage their own forces and means.”
February 24, Ukraine reported that militants fired and damaged DFS tank with chlorine, and since February 24 operation of the station has been suspended. All this time the Ukrainian side is trying to get a guarantee from the occupants of the termination of bombardments in the DFS area to be able to send field engineers and repairmen to restore the water supply. The repair works would need a minimum of 2-3 days. However, the other party does not provide guarantees, shelling in the area continues. Avdiivka is being prepared for the transition to a stand-alone back-up water supply.
February 3, another UAV OSCE of the observers was hit in the area of the DFS. The militants accused in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, but APU stated that are not responsible for shelling at DFS. The SMM confirmed information about the downed UAV, however, do not provide any comments, citing the need to conduct an investigation.