OSCE Can’t Determine Who Is Shelling Slavyansk

by The Daily Lede

2014-05-13 11:48:04

The latest press release from the OSCE, the international monitoring team that both the West and Russia participates in, has an interesting note — they’re not sure who is shelling Slavyansk:

Artillery shelling of the northern outskirts of Kramatorsk (105 kilometres north from Donetsk) from beside the Sloviansk TV Tower on 12 May was confirmed to SMM by both the Ukrainian military and Kramatorsk “People’s Militia” (the latter being a group opposed to the central authorities). Damage caused by the shelling was presented to the SMM. It is however impossible to unambiguously identify which side conducted the shelling.

This report is interesting. Yesterday some journalists, most notably C.J. Chivers, said that the Ukrainian government forces were firing the shells. But there was never any direct evidence linking the Ukrainian military to the shelling. Some of the mortar shells, according to Chivers, were 120mm — the same as the “Nona” uses, a weapon in possession of the separatists as well as the Ukrainian government (jump to earlier update below).

Chivers noted that he had difficulty understanding the decision by the Ukrainian government to use mortars, as they would have little military efficiency and could endanger civilians, which would only make things worse.

Yesterday we also carried an unconfirmed report that the separatists were fighting each other in Karpovka, near Slavyansk.

Is it possible that the Ukrainian military is not responsible for the shelling?