The security situation in eastern Ukraine continued to be volatile and tense. Although the SMM recorded a relative decrease in the number of ceasefire violations over the two week period, the level of violence remained high.
The vast majority of ceasefire violations occurred in areas south-east and east of Svitlodarsk, areas east and north-east of Mariupol, the Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport triangle, the western and northern outskirts of Horlivka and in western Luhansk region.
The SMM continued to observe weapons missing from storage sites as well as the presence and use of proscribed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines. In the week from 13 to 19 March the use of mortars, tanks and artillery, including MLRS, - all proscribed by the Minsk agreements – increased by 75 per cent compared with the previous week. In particular, the use of artillery recorded during this period increased more than fourfold.
The disengagement process remained stalled. The SMM’s access to three agreed disengagement areas remained restricted due to mines and unexploded ordnance, though the SMM was able to partially monitor them, including through remote observation. The SMM observed ceasefire violations inside all three disengagement areas.
During the last two weeks two incidents involving small-arms fire and mortar rounds explosions near SMM members and vehicles were registered in areas not controlled by the Government.
On 16 March the OSCE Permanent Council renewed the SMM mandate for one year until 31 March 2018.