Ukraine Live Day 538: OSCE Cars Torched In Donetsk

August 9, 2015

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OSCE Cars Torched In Donetsk

Four vehicles belonging to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) have been destroyed in Donetsk. BBC reports:

The cars were set on fire early on Sunday morning, causing reinforced glass on their windows to crack and paint to peel off.

Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk blamed the attack on rebel “partners in crime”, while the separatists said on their official website that “Ukrainian saboteurs” were responsible for it.

The incident follows two protests at the mission’s headquarters in Donetsk. OSCE vehicles were damaged on one of these occasions.

OSCE officials said in a statement: “There are, it seems, some who would like the OSCE to stop reporting on what is going on in Donetsk.”

The OSCE SMM released a statement on their website about the incident.

At approximately 02:25hrs on 9 August, the SMM observed that four OSCE armoured vehicles parked outside the residence of SMM monitors in Donetsk city were on fire. At 02:33hrs, the SMM heard four loud bursts, most probably as a result of tires of the armoured vehicles exploding. By 03:22hrs, the firefighters managed to extinguish the fire. The SMM noted that three of its vehicles were completely destroyed, one vehicle heavily damaged and three other vehicles partially damaged by the heat from the fire. SMM monitors were not injured and no damage to other OSCE vehicles was observed.

The SMM informed members of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) who came to the scene and looked at the remains of the vehicles. 

This is not the first incident like this in the last month. OSCE cars have been destroyed, their observers shot at, and their drones jammed:

The OSCE is typically diplomatic in their assessments of ceasefire violations and other incidents, often making sure to avoid pointing blame. However, when OSCE cars were destroyed in Donetsk on July 23, the leaders of the SMM said that the incident was “organized vandalism” and pointed to the fact that a key leader of the Russian-backed separatists was present in the crowd.

Furthermore, the OSCE has directly implicated the Russian military in recent fighting, first claiming that they have witnessed more than 20,000 uniformed men cross the border since September 1, 2014:

More recently, the SMM suggested that they observed Russian military casualties returning across the border:
James Miller