Between September 2nd and 8th, the Joint Forces Operation reported 40 ceasefire violations on the part of Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine. Four Ukrainian soldiers were injured as a result of these ceasefire violations, but thankfully there were no fatalities this past week.
The JFO also reported that on September 3rd, Russian forces placed 53 units of military equipment – including 46 tanks – in occupied territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in violation of the Minsk agreements. On September 6th, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) used UAVs to drop two homemade explosives made with a 3D printer in the residential area of Zaitseve, located in the Donetsk region. One explosive did not work, no one was injured, and no infrastructure was damaged. The next day, Russian forces carried out remote mining of the positions of Ukrainian forces, resulting in one injury on the Ukrainian side.
The FSB illegally detained several Crimean Tatars this past week. On September 3rd, Eldar Odemanov was arrested in Crimea, and the next day the FSB detained four more people: Aziz Akhmetov, Asan Akhmetov, Shevket Useinov, and the Nariman Helal, the deputy chairman of the Majlis of Crimean Tatar people. Helal was sentenced to 12-15 years for subversive activity. Protests followed over the next few days and over 50 protestors were detained by police.
The Russian Federation announced on September 2nd its refusal to extend the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) at Russian border crossings Gukovo and Donetsk after September 30, 2021. Ukrainian Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories Oleksiy Reznikov deemed this “Russia’s defiance of Minsk agreements,” specifically paragraph 4 of the Minsk Protocol of September 5, 2014, which enshrines continuous monitoring of the occupied territories. The OSCE SMM at Gukovo and Donetsk have been operating since July 29, 2014. Ukraine and other partner countries have repeatedly called for the SMM mandate to be extended to all occupied areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Despite broad consensus within the OSCE for the SMM mandate, Russia has consistently blocked any expansion as well as the monitoring mission’s activity.