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Russia’s hybrid war on OSCE observers in Donbas

Russia’s hybrid war on OSCE observers in Donbas

If someone hates OSCE monitors more than Ukrainians do, it’s the Russian invaders

The OSCE special monitoring mission in Ukraine has been repeatedly criticized for turning a blind eye to ceasefire violations by the Russian hybrid troops. Among the critics were the Ukrainian military and foreign journalists as well as ordinary Internet users who created a “blind observers” Internet meme.

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An example of the “blind observers” meme

However, recently OSCE reporting has become more objective and unbiased, as witnessed, for example, in the most recent report from the special monitoring mission. Having observed shell craters in Sartana, a government-controlled settlement on the outskirts of Mariupol, OSCE concluded that the majority of the 122-152mm artillery shells came from the east. According to the same report, an OSCE UAV observed concealed artillery pieces in the “DNR”-controlled Zaichenko, directly to the east of Sartana. While the report makes no conclusions, it’s easy to do the maths from there.

This is far from the first OSCE report clearly putting the blame for ceasefire violations on Russian invaders. In early June, after the heated Mariinka battle, OSCE published a report detailing “rebel” preparations for the massive ceasefire violation that cost them over a dozen fighter, according to “DNR” sources.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the Russian hybrid army does everything in its power to hinder OSCE activities in the warzone.

In an earlier report, OSCE told of their UAVs being jammed and quite probably spotted the culprit: a Russian-made ‘R-330ZH Zhitel’ jamming communication station in the vicinity of Mariupol. Earlier, Ukrainian open-source investigators found the same station in “rebel” hands in Makiivka. This suggests that the Russian hybrid troops may have more than one such system, used across the front to hamper OSCE observations and Ukrainian air recon.

This, together with a recent attack on OSCE cars in Donetsk, indicates a coordinated multi-pronged campaign against the independent observers. While the SMM isn’t immune from criticism, it’s clear that the Russian side certainly doesn’t want them to continue their work and uses hybrid tactics to stop them.

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