68 civilians killed, 315 injured in Donbass in 2017

A total of 68 civilians have been killed and 315 others were injured in the conflict in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas since the beginning of 2017, chief of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (OSCE SMM) Ertugrul Apakan said Saturday in a statement.

KIEV (Sputnik) – “In 2017, civilian population continues to suffer from the conflict. SMM has confirmed 383 victims among civilians, 68 killed and 315 injured,” Apakan said, as quoted in the statement published on the mission’s Facebook page.

The OSCE SMM also published a report on the tally of Donbas conflict victims in 2016, which stated that the mission confirmed 88 killed and 357 wounded over the 12 months.

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Apakan also called on the sides of the conflict to update the civilian population on potentially dangerous mined areas, refrain from stationing troops in inhabited areas and using non-precise weaponry to curb the impact of the war on civilians. According to the OSCE SMM chief monitor, elderly people and small children have been the most vulnerable social groups in face of the war.

Kiev launched a military operation in the east of Ukraine in 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new government that came to power in what they perceived was a coup. The ceasefire agreement was reached in Minsk in 2015, brokered by the leaders of the Normandy Four group, but the situation has remained tense.

The OSCE deployed a monitoring mission to Ukraine in March 2014, following a request by the government of Ukraine. The main task of the SMM is to report objectively on the developments in the conflict-affected areas and promote dialogue between the sides of the conflict.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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