As stated in an earlier article, doubts on the planned peace conference on 15 January in Astana, Kazakhstan, were justified. Today the foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany announced that the peace talks have been postponed for an indefinite period of time, because no progress in implementation of the Minsk protocol has been made.
In fact the recent days were characterized by a deterioration of the situation in Eastern Ukraine confirmed by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in one of their latest reports. Observers reported a significant increase of shelling including the use of multi rocket launch systems (MLRS) leading to new casualties also amongst the remaining Civilian population as also residential areas have been hit by artillery fire.
Also today a bus with Civilians came under fire at a Ukrainian checkpoint and was allegedly hit by a rocket propelled grenade in the area of Donetsk. According to different source six to ten people have been killed and several were injured. Government and separatists accuse each other of targeting the bus.
At Donetsk airport the heavily damaged control tower has collapsed as Ukrainian media reports.
It seems that the OSCE mission in Ukraine might really be in need of armored vehicles as it has received from the United Kingdom. Now the prospects for a rapid peaceful solution of the conflict have gone down rapidly and Civilians in the area continue to suffer under the consequences. Kiev’s demand on the European Union to put the LPR (Lugansk People’s Republic) and DPR (Donetsk People’s Republic) on the list of of terrorist organizations tell a lot about the hardened fronts that make a quick peaceful solution less likely.
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