On 24-29 July of this year. Vostok SOS Charitable Foundation and other organisations’ officers with more than 30 European experts, were observing the declared ceasefire next to the frontline within the 8th international mission. They shared the results of their observations, conclusions and recommendations in a video broadcast of the international monitoring mission in the combat zone in eastern Ukraine.

“This work helps us to properly cover the events in eastern Ukraine and to form an adequate public opinion about these events. This time the focus of our attention was on a truce. We examined the extent to which the parties adhere to the ceasefire regime, the freedom of movement of the population across the frontline, the humanitarian situation in general and military-civilian administrations functioning. We saw with our own eyes that the conflict was not frozen, that the fighting was going on, that there were violations of the ceasefire regime after the declaration of the armistice. The full report is being prepared now,” Konstantin Reutsky, Executive Director of the Vostok SOS Charitable Foundation, said.

“I was surprised that there are still hot spots in eastern Ukraine. The West believes that the Donbas war has been already frozen. Of course, this is absolutely not the case. People can wait for weeks to be able to enter uncontrolled areas. It is worth thinking about how to draw attention to human rights violations,” stated Ivar Dale, an expert from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

“It makes no sense to hold local elections on the front lines in eastern Ukraine,” said Andreas Umland, an expert at the Ukrainian Institute of the Future. “This year’s local elections are especially important because they complete the decentralisation phase. But what we saw on the front lines makes us admit that elections are not possible there.”

Umland explained that communities in frontline areas do not have the necessary income from tax collections and will ultimately depend on subsidies from the centre. Since the essence of decentralisation is to enable people to manage their own finances, which come to local budgets through taxes, it makes no sense to hold local elections under active hostilities. The expert also stressed that there is also a threat of political interference in the election process by Russian forces.

Natalia Tolub

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