Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30, 9 January 2017

Higher numbers of ceasefire violations were recorded in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions between the evenings of 8 and 9 January than during the previous 24 hours. The SMM was restricted in its movement in the three disengagement areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske.* The Mission continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons and observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines. It observed a long queue of civilians at the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge. The SMM visited a border crossing point currently not under government control.

The SMM recorded a higher number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region between the evenings of 8 and 9 January, including over 500 explosions compared with 169 between the evenings of 7 and 8 January,[1] mostly in the areas of Svitlodarsk, Debaltseve and the Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport triangle.

On the night of 8-9 January, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 30 explosions assessed as impacts of 122mm artillery rounds, 20 explosions assessed as 120mm mortar rounds (18 impacts, two outgoing), 57 explosions assessed as 82mm mortar rounds (29 impacts, 28 outgoing), two explosions assessed as artillery rounds, 16 explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV; BMP-1) cannon (73mm), eight shots of IFV (BMP-2) cannon (30mm), and intense automatic-grenade-launcher, heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 3-4km south-east. The Mission also heard 16 explosions assessed as outgoing 100mm anti-tank gun rounds 3-4km north-east and ten explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds 8-10km north-east.

During the day on 9 January, in the same location, the SMM heard three explosions assessed as impacts of mortar rounds (one 120mm and two 82mm), 52 explosions assessed as outgoing 82mm mortar rounds, 12 explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of IFV (BMP-1) cannon and 15 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 3-4km south-east.

Near government-controlled Vidrodzhennia (66km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM observed positions assessed as corresponding with the outgoing artillery rounds heard the night of 8 January 8-10km north-east of Svitlodarsk. The Mission saw fresh tracks assessed to be those of six self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), which led to six artillery positions with about five empty 122mm ammunition boxes, two spent 122mm shells, extinguished but still warm fires, bottles of water unfrozen despite sub-zero temperatures, and soil not covered by the surrounding snow. A nearby resident told the Mission there had been outgoing artillery fire from the location in the evening or early night-time hours of 8 January.

On the evening of 8 January, while in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 14 undetermined explosions 5-10km north-west. On 9 January, in the same location, the Mission heard 43 undetermined explosions 6-12km north-west.

On the evening of 8 January, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, two projectiles in flight from north to south and four undetermined explosions, all 3-6km east-south-east of the camera. Positioned in Avdiivka on 9 January, the Mission heard 22 undetermined explosions: two 1-3km east, four 2-3km south-east, seven 1-3km south and nine 2-4km south-west. The SMM also heard heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 2-3km in directions ranging from east to south-west. In the late afternoon, the SMM camera recorded an exchange beginning with three tracer rounds in flight from south to west and followed by four undetermined explosions, three projectiles in flight from south-west to north-east, four explosions assessed as impacts of rounds from undetermined weapons and four airbursts, all 3-5km south-east of the camera.

On 9 January, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 58 undetermined explosions 5-7km north, 65-67 undetermined explosions 2-7km west, and 12-17 undetermined explosions 2km south, as well as intense heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire at the same distances and directions.

On 9 January, the SMM camera at the “DPR”-controlled Oktiabr mine (9km north-west of Donetsk city centre) recorded, in sequence, one tracer round in flight from east to west, one projectile in flight from west to east, one illumination flare in flight from south-west to north-east and three tracer rounds in flight from west to east, all 3-4km north-east of the camera.

Positioned at the entry-exit checkpoint in government-controlled Pyshchevyk (25km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard 27 undetermined explosions south-south-east (six at a distance of 4-6km and 21 at an unknown distance) and 25 shots of small-arms fire at an unknown distance south-south-east.

On 9 January, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded a rocket-assisted projectile in flight from east to west at an unknown distance north of the camera, immediately followed by an explosion assessed as the corresponding impact at an unknown distance west.

In Luhansk region, too, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations on 8-9 January, including 48 explosions compared with 33 on 7-8 January. Positioned near government-controlled Troitske (69km west of Luhansk), the Mission heard three undetermined explosions 5-7km east and eight undetermined explosions 8-10km north-east. The SMM also recorded violations while positioned in and near the Zolote disengagement area. (See below.)

The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas of Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), Zolote (60km west of Luhansk) and Petrivske (41km south of Donetsk), as foreseen in the Framework Decision of the Trilateral Contact Group relating to disengagement of forces and hardware of 21 September. The SMM’s access to all three areas remained restricted but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*

At the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) told the SMM there would not be any demining activity that day. South of the government checkpoint, the SMM observed a Ukrainian Armed Forces soldier next to the road collecting shrapnel and pieces of weaponry assessed by the SMM as the nose cone of a rocket-propelled grenade, the rocket motor and tail fin of an RPG-7, and a fragment of a rocket (BM-21 Grad, 122mm).

The SMM was able to travel to the government-controlled side of the Zolote disengagement area and back again, noting a calm situation. During nearly four hours in or near the area, however, the Mission recorded ceasefire violations assessed as outside the disengagement area: positioned near “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard an undetermined explosion over 5km south-west; positioned south-west of government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 33 undetermined explosions 10-12km south-east; and positioned in Katerynivka, the SMM heard three undetermined explosions 12-13km south-south-east.

In “DPR”-controlled Petrivske, the SMM noted a calm situation. Positioned in government-controlled Bohdanivka (41km south-west of Donetsk), the Mission heard three bursts of small-arms fire at an unknown distance to the south-south-east, assessed as outside the Petrivske disengagement area. Later, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion at an unknown distance to the east, also assessed as outside the disengagement area.

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons, in implementation of the Package of Measures and its Addendum, as well as the Memorandum.

In violation of the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed six anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) near government-controlled Zhelanne (36km north-west of Donetsk).

Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside assigned areas the SMM observed two tanks (T-64) stationary near “LPR”-controlled Kruhlyk (31km south-west of Luhansk) and one tank (T-72) south of “LPR”-controlled Luhansk city, loaded on a transporter heading north.

The SMM observed weapons that could not be verified as withdrawn, as their storage does not comply with the criteria set out in the 16 October 2015 notification. In government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the Mission observed 12 pieces of towed artillery (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm, observed for the first time) and four self-propelled howitzers (2S19 Msta-S, 152mm). The SMM observed as missing: 18 self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm, all missing since 14 March 2016); 29 towed howitzers (17 2A65; and 12 D-20, 152mm – all missing for the first time); 24 anti-tank guns (six D-48, 85mm, missing since 18 February 2016; and 18 MT-12, of which 12 were missing for the first time and six have been missing since 12 October 2016), ten mortars (six PM-38, 120mm; and four 2B9, 82mm – all missing for the first time). The Mission observed six sites as abandoned (five for the first time).

The SMM revisited permanent storage sites in government-controlled areas, whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines. The Mission observed that two sites were abandoned and noted as missing for the first time: 18 mortars (12 2B9, 82mm; and six 2B11, 120mm), 32 tanks (31 T-72, 125mm; and one T-64, 125mm), and one anti-tank gun (D-44, 85mm).

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles[2] in the security zone in non-government-controlled areas: an IFV (probably BMP-2) stationary near Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk) and an armoured personnel carrier (APC; BTR-80) moving west near Debaltseve.

The SMM continued to monitor the situation of civilians living near the contact line. Near the Petrivka water pumping station in government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk), a representative of Popasna Vodokanal told the Mission that the pipeline had ruptured on 8 January due to age and heavy use (See SMM Daily Report 9 January 2017.) He said that repairs had been concluded earlier in the afternoon and water supply to “LPR”-controlled areas would be restored by the morning of 10 January.

The SMM continued to observe queues at entry-exit checkpoints along the contact line. At the “LPR” checkpoint south of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (16km north-east of Luhansk), the Mission observed about 600 people queuing to walk toward government-controlled areas and 12 people queuing to travel in the opposite direction. At the government checkpoint no queues were observed. At the government checkpoint in Berezove (31km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed about 140 private vehicles and 60 pedestrians queuing to enter government-controlled areas, and no vehicles or pedestrians queuing in the opposite direction.

The SMM visited a border crossing point currently not under government control near “LPR”-controlled Dovzhanskyi (85km south-east of Luhansk). The Mission observed five private vehicles (licence plates not visible due to fog) queuing to enter Ukraine and 11 private vehicles (four with Ukrainian licence plates and seven with Russian Federation plates), one covered truck (with Ukrainian licence plates), and two buses (both with Ukrainian licence plates, one with a sign reading “Irregular Transport”) queuing to travel in the opposite direction. During a period of more than an hour, eight private vehicles (licence plates not observed) and one covered truck entered Ukraine, and 87 private vehicles (63 with Russian Federation licence plates, 23 with Ukrainian plates and one with Polish plates) and a bus (with Ukrainian licence plates and almost 50 passengers) entered the queue to leave; from this queue, nearly 50 private vehicles passed through the first documents control booth over a 20-minute period.

The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Chernivtsi, and Kyiv.

*Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate

The SMM’s monitoring and freedom of movement are restricted by security hazards and threats, including risks posed by mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO), and other impediments – which vary from day to day. The SMM’s mandate provides for safe and secure access throughout Ukraine. All signatories of the Package of Measures have agreed on the need for this safe and secure access, that restriction of the SMM’s freedom of movement constitutes a violation, and on the need for rapid response to these violations. They have also agreed that the JCCC should contribute to such response and co-ordinate mine clearance.

Denial of access:

The SMM was unable to access areas other than the main road in the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, as a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC present told the Mission that no demining had taken place. The SMM informed the JCCC headquarters.

The SMM was unable to travel into the Zolote-Pervomaisk disengagement area using a secondary road east of Katerynivka as a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC said he could not assist in ensuring the Mission’s safety due to the possible presence of mines and UXO in the area. The SMM did not proceed further and informed the JCCC headquarters.

Armed “DPR” members in Petrivske told the SMM that they could not guarantee the Mission’s safety on the road leading west from the village. In addition, the SMM did not observe any demining activity in the area. Due to the threat of mines, the Mission could not travel further and informed the JCCC. In government-controlled Bohdanivka, a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC said he could not assist in ensuring the SMM’s safety on the road leading to Viktorivka (42km south-west of Donetsk) due to the presence of mines.

Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel at a checkpoint south-west of Katerynivka told the Mission they had orders not to allow any travel on the road to government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk). Anti-tank obstacles also blocked the route. The SMM informed the JCCC.

The SMM could not travel across the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) as Ukrainian Armed Forces said they could not guarantee the Mission’s safety due to the threat of mines. The SMM informed the JCCC.

Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel at a compound near government-controlled Kasianivka (22km north of Mariupol) did not allow the Mission to enter the site. The SMM informed the JCCC.

Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel at a compound near government-controlled Topolyne (19km north-west of Mariupol) did not allow the Mission to enter the site. The SMM informed the JCCC. Conditional access:

In Petrivske, an armed “DPR” member insisted on escorting the Mission while it accessed the SMM camera.

[1] Please see the [annexed table for a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations as well as map of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions marked with locations featured in this report.

[2] This hardware is not proscribed by ](https://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/293086)the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.

Contacts

Alexandra Taylor
Head of Press and Public Information Unit
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine
26 Turhenievska Street
01054 Kyiv
Ukraine
Mobile: +380 67 650 31 57
alexandra.taylor@osce.org
smm-media@osce.org

Tetiana Tesliuchenko
Senior Social Media Assistant
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine
26 Turhenievska Street
01054 Kyiv
Ukraine
Office: +380 44 382 0832
Mobile: +380 67 466 2563
Tetiana.Tesliuchenko@osce.org