One of 40 schools damaged by artilery attacks.
Where to Find the Truth in Enormous Detail
Craig Murray / CraigMurray.org & Moon of Alabama
LONDON (February 20, 2022) — In the massive propaganda blitz over Ukraine, there is one place where you can find, in enormous detail, the truth about what is happening in the civil war conflict zone on a daily basis. That is in the daily reports of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Monitoring Mission.
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe is a brilliant organisation set up to monitor implementation of agreements on human rights and arms control during the Cold War period. It includes Russia, the UK and the USA among its 57 members as well as all EU states. It has been operating in conflict zones for over half a century.
Over 40 member states have monitors in the Ukraine monitoring mission. The head of the mission is Turkish, and almost all members have a military or diplomatic background. There are 700 monitors, and they have been in Ukraine since 2014. Their job is to patrol both sides of the civil war conflict zone and to record infringements of the ceasefire and de-escalation agreements, bringing these to the attention of the relevant authorities.
Their work is very comprehensive indeed, and their detailed daily reports are public. These provide the most fantastic journalistic resource for what is actually happening on the ground — which is why Western mainstream media never use this resource, because the truth is the opposite of the picture they wish to paint.
For example, three OSCE monitors attended the site of the famous “kindergarten missile” attack, to verify what kind of missile was used, where it came from, and then tally this against the OSCE’s detailed record of weapons on both sides in the area and their daily movements. This is, literally, the basic everyday job of the mission. The team of OSCE expert observers — two of whom were from European Union countries — were denied access by the Ukrainian government to the kindergarten when they arrived to determine what kind of missile it was and where it came from. This is in direct violation of the ceasefire accord.
For those of us who saw the kindergarten attack stunt as propaganda to begin with, this is powerful corroboration.
This is from the OSCE’s daily report of 18 February:
Damage to a working kindergarten in Stanytsia Luhanska, Luhansk region
On 17 February, the Mission followed up on reports of damage to a working kindergarten in the north-western part of Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk), located about 4.5km north-west of the north-western edge of the disengagement area near Stanytsia Luhanska.
Damaged kindergarten in Stanytsia Luhanska, Luhansk.
At 22 Depovska Street, about 20m southwest of a two-storey kindergarten building, the SMM observed a crater in the kindergarten playground, as well as marks assessed as caused by shrapnel on the inner side of a concrete wall surrounding the building. Also, it observed a hole(about 1m in diameter), and one shattered window on the north-eastern facade of the same building, and two shattered windows on the building’s north-west facing wall (on its ground and first floor).
The SMM assessed the damage as recent but was unable to determine the weapon used or the direction of fire.
Staff from the Youth Affairs Department of the Stanytsia Luhanska Civil-Military
Administration told the Mission that 20 children had been in the kindergarten at the time of the incident, but reported no injuries.
The SMM was only able to conduct its assessment from a distance of about 50m from the north-eastern facade and of about 30m from the south-western facade of the damaged building, as a law enforcement officer did not allow the Mission to access the site saying that an investigation was ongoing.
That same report records numerous violations of the ceasefire agreement by the Ukrainian government in moving heavy weaponry in to menace separatist held areas and in keeping weaponry outside agreed storage facilities. It equally reports precisely the same kind of violations by separatist rebels. None of which balance has been recorded by the same western media which loves to give detailed accounts of troop movements within Russia.
Here is just one tiny example of hundreds of the OSCE information, from the same report of 18 February as the kindergarten visit:
• The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons in implementation of the Memorandum and the Package of Measures and its Addendum.• In violation of withdrawal lines, the Mission observed a surface-to-air-missile system in a government-controlled area of Donetsk region. It also spotted 21 howitzers, five anti-tank guns (four of which probable) and one probable multiple launch-rocket system, in two training areas in non-government-controlled areas of Luhansk region.
• Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, the SMM saw ten towed howitzers and two surface-to-air-missile systems in government-controlled areas of Donetsk region, in two compounds (of which one near a residential area). It also spotted two surface-to-air missile systems, 12 mortars and 41 tanks, in two training areas in non-government-controlled areas of Luhansk region. (For further information, see the tables below.)
• Indications of military and military-type presence in the security zone
• In government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the Mission saw seven armoured combat vehicles. In residential areas in non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, it also saw one anti-aircraft gun and two armoured combat vehicles (including one probable). (For further information, see the table below.)
• During the day, the SMM saw a minibus, three minivans, two cars and ten men (age unknown) wearing military-style clothing and carrying assault rifles in a residential area of Oleksandrivka (non-government-controlled, 20km south-west of Donetsk).
• The Mission also saw a convoy consisting of four trucks (three Ural and one Kamaz type) and three cars carrying at least seven men in a residential area of Brianka (non-governmentcontrolled, 46km south-west of Luhansk) heading north-west. Later in the day, the SMM saw the same convoy in Alchevsk (non-government-controlled, 40km west of Luhansk).
Three countries have now withdrawn their staff from the OSCE Monitoring Mission in preparation for a coming war — the UK, the USA and Canada.
In my view, that speaks volumes about who is actually planning on starting a war here. Extraordinarily, having withdrawn their staff, the western powers are now briefing the media that the OSCE (which has for decades been a key tool of western security architecture) is a biased organisation.
Yet again the parallel to the Iraq War is striking to those of us who recall the rubbishing by the US/UK of the reports of the UN weapons inspection team, in favour of propaganda and outright lies in order to start a war.
Another of the schools damaged by shelling.
Aaron Tovish — Moon over Alabama says that the US and UK have withdrawn from the SMM. Is that confirmed? If so, why?
I also find it ironic that the call to evacuate women and children from a war-zone is considered “provocative,” when the US and UK are withdrawing their personnel from Kiev to Lviv.
Alyn — A thank you to Steven Starr for reminding us that the OSCE and its Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine is one of the few sources of factual and neutral information on the situation on the ground in the Donbas region of Ukraine. This is not surprising, as OSCE membership includes all relevant countries in this conflict — USA, Russia, Ukraine, all European countries including those in NATO and all former Soviet countries.
The OSCE press release on Feb 18 is therefore very credible. The key part reads:
“”We are deeply concerned about the reported significant increase in armed violence in eastern Ukraine. We reiterate the need to refrain from the use of force and de-escalate an already tense situation. Restraint, dialogue and responsibility are paramount. We deplore the spreading of disinformation about an imminent military action by Ukrainian government forces; this critically affects the civilian population in the conflict zone. The increasingly hostile and inflammatory rhetoric we have been hearing recently undermines efforts to foster peace, stability and security and increases the risks of further confrontation and escalation. It must stop.”
Here’s hoping the main players in this conflict take heed of the OSCE’s calls for “Restraint, dialogue and responsibility.”
John Hallam via Nuclear News — I agree with Alyn’s pointing to the OSCE as one of the few truly credible sources of information. And with is underlining of what is said re a Ukrainian offensive against Donetsk and Luhansk.
Balance is increasingly hard to obtain. We need to be aware of the bias not only in Russian narratives, but above all in our own narratives. And we should seek not to justify one side or the other of a conflict but to de-escalate and end that conflict.
I have been accused of being pro-the-other-side by both sides. Hopefully that means I’m at least trying to be objective, but its difficult.
Ukraine: Who Is Firing At Whom
And Who Is Lying About It?
Moon of Alabama
(February 20, 2022) — The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has an observer mission along the line of control between the government and rebel side in southeast Ukraine.
- In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 591 ceasefire violations, including 553 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 222 ceasefire violations in the region.
- In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded 975 ceasefire violations, including 860 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 648 ceasefire violations in the region.
The ever-lying New York Times claims that it is only the Donbas rebel side that is firing artillery:
“Artillery fire escalated sharply in eastern Ukraine on Saturday and thousands of residents fled the region in chaotic evacuations — two developments rife with opportunities for what the United States has warned could be a pretext for a Russian invasion.
“Russian-backed separatists, who have been fighting the Ukrainian government for years, have asserted, without evidence, that Ukraine was planning a large-scale attack on territory they control.”
At the same time, the firing of mortars, artillery and rocket-propelled grenades by separatist rebels along the front line roughly doubled the level of the previous two days, the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs said. Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and five wounded, the military said.
Ukrainian officials said the shelling came exclusively from the separatists, who are seen as a proxy for Russia.
New York Times reporters at the scene witnessed shelling from separatists and saw no return fire from the Ukrainian forces, although residents in the separatist regions said there was shelling from both sides.
The OSCE observer mission helpfully provides maps in its daily reports that show the impact points of artillery attacks. Yesterday, a large majority of those were within the rebel-controlled areas.
Here is a cutout from the OSCE map below.
The Times claims:
Intense artillery barrages targeted a pocket of government-controlled territory around the town of Svitlodarsk, a spot that has worried security analysts for weeks for its proximity to dangerous industrial infrastructure, including storage tanks for poisonous gas.
The concentration of impacts on the left of the above picture is a bit south-east of Svitlodarsk. Artillery rounds landed on both sides of the line of control but the vast majority of them exploded on the Donbas side. The same can be said for the impacts north-east of Luhansk. On Thursday both of these areas were also the aim of artillery concentrations. These are likely crossing points through which the Ukraine military plans to direct its upcoming attack.
The full map of Friday’s impacts:
This is an information war in with the Russian side is mostly trolling the U.S. side while the Biden administration and its associated media like the NYT are lying through their teeth.
Today’s Washington Post has European officials complaining that the Biden administration has presented them with no evidence for all the claims it has made:
However, some European allies questioned the United States’ conviction that the Kremlin will launch hostilities, saying that they have not seen direct evidence suggesting Putin has committed to such a course of action.
One European official told The Washington Post in Munich that “we have no clear evidence ourselves that Putin has made up his mind and we have not seen anything that would suggest otherwise.” Another said that although the situation is grave, “at this stage we do not have such clear intelligence” that Putin has decided to invade.
The officials said they have been told little about the sources and methods the United States used to arrive at its conclusions, limiting their capacity to make independent decisions about how much weight to give statements from Biden that Putin has made a decision to attack.
“It’s always the raw material that they do not share,” said one senior NATO diplomat who has had extensive conversations with top American policymakers in Brussels.
These Europeans have their own satellites and military intelligence analysts. They also talk to each other. They obviously do not see what the U.S., without presenting evidence, claims to be seeing.
While the OSCE observer mission is not completely neutral it is at least professional in its work. It also helps that the U.S. and Britain have retracted their people from the OSCE mission and have less abilities to fudge the results. They were replaced by officers from other European countries.
When in doubt of what is happening take a look at them.
Forty schools and kindergartens were destroyed in the Luhansk region since the hostilities in Eastern Ukraine began.
In many institutions, explosive waves have smashed windows, destroyed facades, and broke roofs. As a result of direct hits and mortar shelling, some of them require major repairs or even cannot be restored, Censor.NET reports referring to Hennadii Moskal, Head of the Luhansk Regional State Administration.
“In Toshkivka (Popasna district) Grad shells destroyed a sport hall and a school canteen. The shelling started when children were at school. The students were saved by teachers who heard the volleys and said them to go home. In Troitske (Popasna district) Grad shells almost destroyed a gym which had just been repaired after the previous shelling,” Moskal wrote.
In Novotoshkivka village school the roof and heating system were destroyed. In Triokhizbenka village school Grads ruined some lift slabs. Three schools in Stanytsia Luhanska village, as well as three schools and two kindergartens in Popasna town were ruined.
Moskal emphasized that in most cases Ukrainian law enforcers were not positioned near the destroyed educational institutions, so there was no point to shell them.
Fighters for Russian Orthodoxy destroyed eight churches in the Luhansk region – Moskal.
Shelling Intensified in Luhansk Region. Terrorists’ Mortaring Started Again – Moskal
Quarantine in educational institutions extended – Education Ministry
At night terrorists shelled Luhansk region with Grads. There are casualties – Moskal
Gas pipeline and railway damaged in Luhansk region, – Tuka
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