Militants deny SMM full access at seven checkpoints in Donbas.

The SMM’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at checkpoints of the armed formations in southern Donetsk region and near border areas outside of government control.

The OSCE SMM informed this in a report issued on January 20, based on information from the monitoring teams received as of 19:30 on January 19, 2020.

“At a checkpoint north of Novoazovsk (non-government-controlled, 102km south-east of Donetsk), an armed member of the armed formations denied the SMM passage towards Novoazovsk citing “orders from superiors”,” reads the report.

At a checkpoint at a junction on road M-14 leading south towards (non-government-controlled, 106km south of Donetsk), a member of the armed formations stopped the SMM and denied it access to the village, citing “orders from superiors”.

In addition, at a checkpoint west of Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, nongovernment-controlled, 85km south of Donetsk), an armed member of the armed formations allowed the SMM passage only on the condition that it did not proceed to Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, non-government-controlled, 92km south of Donetsk) and Sakhanka (non-government-controlled, 97km south of Donetsk).

At a checkpoint north of Zaichenko (non-government-controlled, 93km south of Donetsk), two armed members of the armed formations again denied the SMM passage towards Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, non-government-controlled, 92km - 8 - south of Donetsk) and Sakhanka (non-government-controlled, 97km south of Donetsk), citing “ongoing demining activities”.

At a border crossing point near Voznesenivka (formerly Chervonopartyzansk, non-government-controlled, 65km south-east of Luhansk), a member of the armed formations told the SMM to leave the area.

The sides continued to deny the SMM full access, as well as the ability to travel certain roads previously identified as important for effective monitoring by the Mission and for civilians’ movement, through failure to conduct comprehensive clearance of mines, UXO and other obstacles.

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