Militants again restrict SMM’s freedom of movement in Donbas – report.

The SMM’s freedom of movement has been restricted again at checkpoints of the armed formations in non-government-controlled Verkhnoshyrokivske, Starolaspa and Staromykhailivka in Donetsk region.

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

“At a checkpoint about 600m west of Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, non-government-controlled, 85km south of Donetsk), an armed member of the armed formations again denied the SMM passage towards non-government-controlled areas, citing “an ongoing operation.” While at the checkpoint, the SMM saw at least four civilian vehicles passing through towards government-controlled areas,” reads the report.

At a checkpoint east of Starolaspa (non-government-controlled, 51km south of Donetsk), an armed member of the armed formations denied the SMM passage towards Novolaspa (non-government-controlled, 50km south of Donetsk), citing “orders from superiors”.

At a checkpoint in Staromykhailivka (non-government-controlled, 15km west of Donetsk), two members of the armed formations allowed the SMM to enter the settlement to follow up on reports of damage to a school only with an escort and after about 50 minutes of waiting, citing a “lack of prior knowledge” of the SMM’s activities and “engineering activities related to de-mining”.

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