17:06 Aug. 9, 2016
On July 29 several armed militants blocked the monitors and held them at gunpoint
The members of the OSCE Mission to Eastern Ukraine are looking to meet the leader of the Donetsk separatists Oleksandr Zakharchenko. The monitors want to know what measures he has taken regarding recent threats towards the observers. However, Zakharchenko continues to avoid the monitors.
This is according to the latest report from the conflict zone, published by OSCE on August 8.
"Mr. Zakharchenko continued to refuse to meet the SMM in order to indicate effective steps taken in response to the incident on 29 July when SMM monitors were threatened at gunpoint by aggressive armed "DPR" members near Lukove (72km south of Donetsk)", the message reads.
According to OSCE, their vehicle was blocked by two camouflaged-style jeeps near Lukove. Several armed separatists pointed their guns at the monitors. The observers described their attitude as very aggressive. They said one of them had made a ‘cut throat' sign before taking pictures of the SMM vehicles and the drivers.
The monitors were ordered to follow while still pointing their weapons at the mission. OSCE informed the SMM Regional Security officer, who, in turn, passed the information to the Joint Center for Control and Co-operation.
After stopping at a checkpoint, nine armed militants surrounded the SMM vehicle, swearing and making threatening gestures. One of them said twice the monitors should be shot.
Later they released the observers.
The SMM says it continues to insist on responsibility for violations and impediments to the SMM mission.