Donbass civilians suffer their third winter amid conflict

The ceasefire agreement between Ukrainian troops and so-called separatists in the country’s eastern Donbass region is monitored by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Euronews spoke with Alexander Hug from the OSCE

Alexander Hug, OSCE: “What is certain is that the ingredients for the flair up are still there, the heavy weapons are still present on both sides of the line and the positions are far too close. An escalation as we had it at the end of January beginning February is any time possible.”

Euronews: “Now with the coming of spring, do you see it slightly being alleviated or is it still getting worse?”

Alexander Hug, OSCE: “Rather the opposite. The civilian population suffers now in the third winter in a row in this conflict. Most of these victims have been injured or killed by shrapnel that means by weapons that should not be there, should have long been withdrawn. It’s about time now that the sides adhere to what have long agreed to, to withdraw these weapons and disengage at the contact line so that the civilians can go back to their normal lives.”

Meanwhile there is no process for those living in Donbass to apply for a Ukrainian passport . They can only obtain passports issued by the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

Euronews: “Does your mission received complaints from citizens of that part of the world so that they can’t get Ukrainian passports, diplomas, birth certificates, do you receive these complaints?”

Alexander Hug, OSCE: “We are aware of complications in this regard, however the majority of complaints related to the ongoing fighting, most citizens and civilians that we meet in the street, in the villages, tell us only one thing, that this conflict should end, so they could go back to their normal lives, can go back to school, go to work and cross that contact line that doesn’t exist in their minds, it only exists in reality of course, on the ground.”

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