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 Head of OSCE Europe: "The cease-fire is holding, but there are violations"

The cease-fire in eastern Ukraine is holding and overall hostilities have dropped, the head of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said on Friday.

"My assessment is that the cease-fire is, all in all, holding, but there are violations," Lamberto Zannier told in an interview to Reuters, adding that violations were mainly small arms fire, Censor.NET reports.

"In some cases it is mortars, but it's weapons with small calibres," Zannier said on the sidelines of an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Riga. "So we don't see violations in terms of use of large artillery systems, and we have seen those being moved."

Read also: OSCE monitoring post will be set up in the territory of Donetsk airport today - Poroshenko

Russia and Ukraine have agreed to double the number of OSCE observers to 1,000 to monitor the cease-fire agreed last month in Minsk, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Friday.

Steinmeier said the agreement was reached after a discussion at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin among officials from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany.

But Zannier said the number of observers was not the real issue.

"My main problem in this moment is not the numbers, it's the access," Zannier said. "If they had more access, I could get more out of them. That is really my challenge."

See also: ATO forces withdraw Grads from line of collision in Luhansk region. PHOTOS

Zannier said he would like to have more smaller drones to add to the three large ones currently being used to monitor the cease-fire.

The OSCE mission expires on March 21 but Zannier said that it was likely to be renewed for another year.

"It looks like everybody seems to be comfortable with a long extension, probably one year. That shows that there is support for the operation."

 
 
 
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