OSCE Mission in Ukraine Reports Numerous Refugees On Border with Russia
The Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), working in Ukraine under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), on 1 September visited Lugansk in order to monitor the overall situation in the city. The SMM observed that the city was without water and electricity supplies and that only one hospital appeared to be operational. Drinking water was distributed in cisterns. The SMM did not observe any military hardware in the city centre. Although supermarkets and shops appeared to be closed, the SMM saw that some shop employees were selling limited food supplies at extremely high prices.
The SMM has also reported numerous refugees, willing to flee the country through the Novoazovsk border check-point. According to the report, posted on the OSCE website, in the city of Popasna in the Lugansk region, the SMM met internally displaced people (IDPs) who said that "estimated that 60 to 70% of the buildings in the nearby town of Pervomaisk, had been hit by shelling." Many residents of the town are believed to be trapped there.
"The town continues to be without water, gas and electricity, including the hospital and maternity clinic," the statement said.
On August 16, the OSCE monitors met with representatives of the Novoazovsk Border Crossing-Point, "where it observed a one-kilometre long queue of various vehicles, reportedly with IDPs fleeing the country, and other long freight trucks."
According to the report, representatives of the Ukrainian city Kryvyi Rih notified the SMM of about 2,000 IDPs they had received over the past three weeks from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Amid ongoing fighting between independence supporters and Ukrainian troops many citizens were forced to leave eastern Ukraine in search for shelters. Some settled in the country's regions not affected by combat actions, others crossed into neighboring Russia. According to the UN refugee agency estimates released on August 5, more than 730,000 people have fled Ukraine for Russia since January, and this number continues to grow dramatically every day.