MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Militia will provide access to Debaltseve for the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) in Europe observers on Sunday, Luhansk People Republic’s (LPR) Envoy Vladislav Deinego told RIA Novosti in a phone conversation Saturday.
“The OSCE requested access to Debaltseve on [February] 22. On [February] 22 they will be provided with access here, they will enter tomorrow without any problems,” Deinego said.
“OSCE representatives also have an opportunity to have access to other areas where there are no attacks, where it is safe,” he added.
According to the LPR envoy's comments on Thursday, the OSCE submitted an application to visit Debaltseve on February 22.
Meanwhile, the OSCE monitoring mission's press service told RIA Novosti later on Thursday that observers "need no permission," adding that their applications are aimed at notifying local authorities ahead of their visits.
The key junction town linking regions of Luhansk and Donetsk saw an escalation of violence between government forces and independence fighters in recent days. Thousands of Ukrainian troops have been encircled in Debaltseve for weeks.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Wednesday Kiev troops left the town as part of a withdrawal operation, while independence fighters claim the troops surrendered en masse.
On Thursday, independence fighters announced gaining control of the town, while clashes continued in neighboring residential areas.
OSCE observers have been deployed in eastern Ukraine since March 2014. They are regularly monitoring the situation in the zone of conflict and publish daily reports.