Unidentified Third Party Provokes Both Sides in Ukraine

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(Newswire.net — April 18, 2015)  Donetsk, Ukraine — The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is monitoring the fragile truce in Ukraine between Kiev’s forces and the rebels. Though heavy weapons and artillery have been pulled out from the front line, there is still some small arms fire exchanged.

In its daily report, OSCE’s monitoring mission said that it’s not coming from Kiev’s army, nor the rebels, but a third party has been involved in the cease-fire violations across Eastern Ukraine.

According to the report dated April 16, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) has witnessed three attempts by the Joint Centre for Control & Coordination (JCCC) to organize a ceasefire between Ukrainian troops and the self-proclaimed republics’ forces. However, within minutes of the arranged time, the ceasefire was violated.

Ukrainian and Russian officers told OSCE representatives that they believe some third party is opening fire provoking both sides.

“According to both Ukrainian Armed Forces and Russian Federation Armed Forces officers at the observation point, an unidentified ‘third party’ was provoking the two sides,” the mission’s report says.

“The SMM witnessed…[that] sporadic firing of mortars and machine guns started within a few minutes of the arranged [ceasefire] start time,” the report says.

In its report, the SMM does not mention where the fire was coming from, nor does it name possible perpetrators of the alleged provocations.

As sporadic fighting around Donetsk continued throughout the day, Kiev forces and the militias did manage to secure a short ceasefire window from 13:07 to 15:37 local time, according to the report. However, within this cease-fire window, OSCE registered 18 separate treaty violations.

A permanent representative of the self-proclaimed DPR, Dennis Pushilin, told OSCE that he doesn’t believe that the official Kiev’s army is behind the attacks. He said he believes that the “third party” blamed for the provocations might be privately funded nationalists, who are not under Kiev’s control.

Right wing nationalists paramilitary forces in Ukraine were ordered to join the central command structure, it is believed a few rogue cells could still exist.

“These battalions only half obey the central government. All provocations occur where Azov and Right Sector battalions are concentrated. Namely Shirokino area, Donetsk airport and Avdeyevka. This pushes the situation to a new conflict,” Pushilin told OSCE, Russia Today reported.

“They want a new war and new blood. They aim to involve the Ukrainian armed forces in the conflict, although the Ukrainian army to a greater degree follows orders,” Pushilin said.

Meanwhile the SMM used surveillance drones to monitor the ceasefire. Drones recorded the presence of some heavy artillery and two tanks in the demilitarized zone under DPR’s control.

Meanwhile, the US will send around 300 Special Forces troops to train Kiev’s National Guard. Paratroopers of the US173rd Airborne Brigade will participate in joint drills, which was agreed upon by Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko and US Vice-President Joe Biden early this spring.