The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine noted a calm situation near the administrative border between Kherson and the occupied Crimea, however pointed out that the Armed Forces of Ukraine increased the number of its servicemen at one of the positions near Chonhar settlement, the report of the SMM says. 

“On 27 February, the SMM visited a crossing point near Chonhar (162km south-east of Kherson) and noted an two-fold increase in the number of personnel (from about 20 to about 40) at the Ukrainian Armed Forces position, compared with the previous week. About 5m east of the position, the Mission observed for the first time that a dugout was occupied by a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer.”

The Mission does not explain the causes for such an increase in the servicemen number in the region, but it should be noted that on February 20-26 Ukraine marks the fourth anniversary of the beginning of the Russian annexation and occupation of the Crimea.

As for the situation in the zone of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in the Donbas, according to SMM information in the Donetsk region, the number of violations of the ceasefire regime has increased almost 5-fold - to about 620 against 125, respectively. More than half of the explosions were recorded in the afternoon on February 27 in the southeast and south of the settlement of Svetlodarsk. Moreover, in the area of the Donetsk filtering station on the night from 26 to 27 February, the SMM camera recorded a powerful artillery firefight - 273 shots (177 from the west to the east and 96 from the east to the west).

At the same time, it was relatively quiet in the Luhansk region, where the cease-fire regime was only violated six times, three times less than the previous day.

However, the mission continued to record irregularities in the deployment of heavy weapons. Thus, on February 25, over the withdrawal lines, but outside the designated storage areas for weapons in areas beyond the control of the government, the Unmanned aerial vehicle recorded more than 70 tanks of an indeterminate type: 49 tanks about 4 km southeast of the Ternove village (57 km east of Donetsk) and 27 tanks approximately in 2 km to the north-east of the village of Kruhlik (31 km south-west of Luhansk).

In addition, the militants continued to prohibit the patrols of the mission from entering the village of Sedove in the south of the Separate districts of Donetsk region. So, on the northwest entrance to the settlement of Sedove, two armed members of the Donetsk People`s Republic again did not allow the Mission's patrol to enter the city, explaining that their administration "does not allow the OSCE to Sedove". 

Reportedly, militants under any imaginary pretexts limit patrols` access to Sedove since April of last year. Although, in accordance with the mandate, SMM has the right to visit any settlements in Ukraine, including those in the occupied Donbas.

Earlier, in an interview with QHA, the Head of the Kherson team of the OSCE, Peter Chilvers, said that the Mission's work at the Kherson region / Crimea administrative borders differs from monitoring in the conflict zone in the Donbas.