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OSCE Observers Blocked in Occupied Donetsk due to Detention of Militant

OSCE in Donbas

On 15 and 16 October, Russian mercenaries staged a protest against the OSCE mission in occupied Donetsk city. In front of the hotel where the Special Monitoring Mission’s observers reside, a gathering was held and the Mission’s patrols were not allowed to leave the building, according to an OSCE report.

“From the morning of 15 October, in front of the hotel where Mission members reside in the central part of non-government-controlled Donetsk city, the SMM observed a gathering of between 50 and 100 people (mostly young men),” the document reads.

It saw some of them were holding posters and “expressing opinions critical of the Mission’s activities, and specifically of events that occurred inside the disengagement area near Zolote on 13 October, when a member of the armed formations was reportedly detained by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”

As previously reported, on 13 October, Russian-backed militants resorted to a gross provocation. A group of armed men with armbands of the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC), under the guise of demining, conducted reconnaissance of the remaining positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian soldiers detained a militant; he turned out to be a citizen of the Russian Federation, Andrey Kosyak. His weapons and ammunition were confiscated.

Representatives of the occupation authorities insist that the detainee is a representative of the JCCC and demand that he be released. At the same time, Russian mercenaries threatened that they can withdraw from the peace talks within the Minsk format.

Boris Gryzlov, Russia’s representative in the Trilateral Contact Group, also accused Ukraine of “illegal detentions.” This allegedly “complicates the conflict resolution process.”

Meanwhile, the OSCE said in its statement that there were no violations by Ukraine, so it did not include Kosyak’s detention in the report on the ceasefire violation, i.e. Ukraine’s actions were considered justified.

The Ukrainian side insists that the militant had no right to be in the territory where he was detained. In addition, OSCE observers are prohibited from carrying weapons, and representatives of the so-called “LPR” or “DPR” are not included in the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination at all. A video was found on the detainee’s mobile phone, which shows Kosyak and other militants firing mortars at Ukrainian military positions.

According to SBU investigators, Kosyak, a native of Alchevsk, is a former criminal suspected of premeditated murder in 2010. He received a Russian passport in February 2020. In 2014, he joined the ranks of the Bryanka SSSR gang. He later served in a mortar platoon and took an active part in hostilities against the Ukrainian military in the Luhansk region.

Law enforcement officers opened a criminal case and informed the detainee about the suspicion of a crime.

Bohdan Marusyak

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