The U.S. envoy to the OSCE, Chargé d’Affaires Kate M. Byrnes has reported to the Permanent Council in Vienna, Austria, that Russian troops had been preparing for the shelling at Avdiivka in Donbas for half a year.
“Satellite images show not less than six artillery positions on separatist-controlled territory within striking distance of Avdiyivka. Combined Russian-separatist forces have been expanding their positions in Avdiyivka in the past six months – including into areas on the Ukrainian side of the line of contact. This is a fight for which Russia and the separatists had prepared,” reports the U.S. Mission to the OSCE.
The diplomat has stated that the situation in Donbas remains volatile and has reported about ongoing violations of International law and defiance of OSCE principles and commitments by the Russian Federation in Donbas.
“The close proximity of forces and heavy weapons keeps tension levels high and increases the potential for renewed violence,” reads the report.
Kate M. Byrnes has called for a free and safe access of OSCE SMM to all Ukrainian territories illegally occupied by the Russian Federation, condemning the incident in which Russian troops shot at an SMM monitor in Donbas.
“We condemn the incident in which a separatist fighter shot at an SMM monitor in Kalynove, Luhansk on February 3. This separatist fighter must be held to account for his actions. We must be clear that this is not the first time that separatist fighters have fired at monitors. This endangers the mission and it must stop,” reads the report of the USA Mission to OSCE.
The U.S. envoy to the OSCE has pointed to the damage inflicted by Russian troops to civilian residential areas in Donbas.
“Shelling has also destroyed homes and damaged schools in Avdiyivka, killed two people, and wounded two more at Ukrainian government humanitarian centers. The shelling even killed a civilian first responder when it exploded over his ambulance. We are aware of reports of another incident in Svitlodarsk, in which a Russia-backed separatist shot and destroyed a clearly-marked military ambulance – killing the medic and wounding several others. This is unacceptable,” reads the document.
Kate M. Byrnes has underlined that the Russian Federation continues to supply, sustain, and direct the fighting in Donbas.
“Russia, which continues to supply, sustain, and direct the fighting in eastern Ukraine, has yet to speak out against and put a halt to the shelling and other attacks on civilians in Ukrainian-government territory,” reads the report.
“A week before the assault began, the SMM observed trucks which were carrying boxes of ammunition assessed as matching the shape and size of MLRS rockets in the separatist held town of Khrustalnyi. Two days before the assault began, an SMM UAV spotted 45 military-style trucks 500 meters from a railway station in separatist-held Amvrosiivka, which lies only 15 kilometers from the Russian border.”
The U.S. envoy to the OSCE, Chargé d’Affaires Kate M. Byrnes has underlined that sanctions against the Russian Federation remain in place and has called Russia to stop aggression against Ukraine.
“Our sanctions remain in place. We again call on Russia to comply fully with its commitments under the Minsk agreements. Proscribed weapons must be withdrawn, a comprehensive ceasefire must be sustained, and effective border monitoring must be established. We again call on Russia to observe the Helsinki Final Act, in which all participating States agreed that one another’s frontiers are inviolable and that they will respect the territorial integrity of each participating State.” has reported the diplomat
See also: Russian T-90 tank shelled hospital in Donbas but OSCE didn’t want to record the attack