OSCE Records Military Trucks Moving Through Russian-Ukrainian Border in Donbas
11 August, 2018

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has recorded two convoys of military trucks moving through the Russian-Ukrainian border in Donbas.

The Special Monitoring Mission’s (SMM) drone first recorded a convoy of eight military trucks travelling along a road east of Donetsk, leaving Ukraine and crossing into Russian territory though a dirt track, away from the checkpoints on the night of August 7. The drone then spotted a similar convoy, with an off-road vehicle leading six KamAZ cargo trucks and a box body truck away from the Russian-Ukrainian border and into occupied Donbas along the the same dirt track. Later another two KamAZ trucks joined the second convoy.

Both convoys separately stopped for a few minutes next to an off-road vehicle parked in a field along the dirt track, 1.7km from the border, and again next to two trucks parked at the intersection of the dirt track and a paved road.

“At both spots, the occupants of the parked vehicles (the off-road vehicle in the field and the two trucks at the intersection) can be seen interacting with the drivers of each convoy’s lead vehicle,” the SMM August 9 report stated.

The SMM recorded the convoy heading into Ukraine travelling west and stopping at the southern outskirts of occupied Khrustalnyi, 56km south-west of Luhansk in the early hours on August 8.

Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Alexander Hug told Hromadske that this is the first time the mission has recorded trucks crossing the border where there were no official border crossings.

“We have previously seen trucks leading to the border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation where there are no border crossings, we have also seen improvised camps near the unsecured border where there is no official crossing,” he said.

“This time on the 7th of August, there in the middle of the night, in an area where there is no official border crossing, we have now seen trucks which is what we have not seen before.”

Hug said that the route taken by the two convoys on August 7th forms part of the Donetsk region where SMM encounters more active interference with its freedom of movement.

He said SMM would not speculate on what could have been transported by the vehicles but stated that the movement was highly coordinated for both convoys.

In July, OSCE observers recorded 30 militants’ tanks in a prohibited area near Luhansk.