MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) - The OSCE's Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine has sent two representatives to the city of Mariupol in southeast Ukraine to start working later Friday, the mission’s press service told RIA Novosti.
“A special monitoring mission has sent two representatives to Mariupol, they will start working on the report about the situation in the city today,” the press service said.
Late Thursday, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman referred to the head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission Ambassador Apakan and said that there was no SMM presence in Mariupol and Novoazovsk, “although the OSCE is in the process of deploying a team to those areas.”
On Thursday, the region's independence forces announced that they had surrounded Ukrainian troops outside the small town of Ilovaisk, 35 kilometers (22 miles) from Donetsk and captured the checkpoints and strongholds of Ukrainian special forces in the outskirts of the southern town of Novoazovsk on the Sea of Azov.
In mid-April, Kiev launched a military operation against independence supporters in Ukraine's southeast after they refused to recognize the legitimacy of the coup-imposed government.
According to the United Nations, since mid-April till August 27, more than 2,500 civilians have died as a result of the confrontation, and more than 6,000 have been injured.