Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 10 January 2017

This report is for the media and the general public.

An increase in ceasefire violations was recorded in Donetsk and Luhansk regions between the evenings of 9 and 10 January as compared with the previous reporting period. The SMM followed up on civilian casualties and damage to civilian homes. 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 an anti-tank gun in violation of its respective withdrawal line. The SMM monitored the repair of critical infrastructure on both sides of the contact line in Luhansk region including to a 900mm water pipeline Artema. The SMM visited three border crossing points currently not under government control.

The SMM recorded a higher number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region between the evenings of 9 and 10 January, including over 700 explosions, as compared with about 500 explosions in the previous reporting period [1], mostly in the areas of Svitlodarsk, Debaltseve and the Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport triangle.

During the evening and night of 9 January, while in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre, the SMM heard 52 explosions 10-15km north-north-east.

Over five hours on the evening of 9 January, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 24 explosions assessed as outgoing 120mm mortar rounds, 60 explosions assessed as 82mm mortar rounds (41 outgoing, 19 impacts), 24 explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV; BMP-1) cannon (73mm), five explosions assessed as impacts of recoilless gun rounds (SPG-9, 73mm), five explosions assessed as impacts of automatic-grenade-launcher rounds, 20 explosions assessed as rounds of an undetermined weapon (five impacts, 15 outgoing) and more than 90 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 3-4km south-east.

For over 20 minutes on the evening of 10 January, from the same location, the SMM heard 23 explosions (12 outgoing and 11 impacts) of artillery rounds and continuous small-arms fire 3-6km south-east.

Over 3.5 hours during the evening of 9 January, while in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 316 undetermined explosions 6-12km north-west. On 10 January, from the same location, the SMM heard four explosions (one outgoing and the rest undetermined) 3-7km north-west.

Over 3.5 hours during the evening of 9 January, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 6-9km south-west and nine single shots of small-arms fire 5-8km south.

On the evening of 9 January, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded an exchange of fire that included 43 undetermined explosions, a total of 175 projectiles in flight from south to north and 140 projectiles in flight from north to south, beginning with 47 projectiles in flight from south to north, all at 3-4km east-south-east of the camera.

The following day, the same camera recorded five rocket-assisted projectiles in flight from north-north-east to south-south-west, 3km east-south-east of the camera, followed by an exchange consisting of 23 undetermined explosions, 11 rocket-assisted projectiles in flight (five north-east to south-west, three south-west to north-east, two east-north-east to west-south-west and one west-south-west to east-north-east) and 93 projectiles in flight (66 from south-west to north-east, 26 north-east to south-west and one north-north-east to south-south-west), all 3-6km east-south-east of the camera. Positioned in the town on 10 January, an SMM patrol heard 21 undetermined explosions and 25 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 5km south.

Over a period of about 2.5 hours, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 22 undetermined explosions as well as shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, including five minutes of intense firing, all 3-5km west and north-west.

During the evening of 9 January, the SMM camera at the “DPR”-controlled Oktiabr mine (9km north-west of Donetsk city centre) recorded 18 undetermined explosions and an exchange of fire including 14 projectiles in flight from north to south and four projectiles in flight from south to north, beginning with one projectile in flight from north to south, all 6-10km north-east of the camera. On 10 January, over a period of about three hours, the SMM camera recorded eight undetermined explosions, two airbursts, and one illumination flare 4-10km north-east of the camera.

On 10 January, positioned approximately 2km west of the entry-exit checkpoint in government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 3-5km north-east.

Positioned in government-controlled Hnutove (20km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard three outgoing explosions followed immediately by three explosions assessed as impacts at unknown distances south-east.

Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Zaichenko (26km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard five undetermined explosions 1-5km south-west.

On the night of 9-10 January, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded an exchange of fire beginning with an illumination flare in flight from west to east at an unknown distance north of the camera, followed by one explosion assessed as an outgoing round of an undetermined weapon, four undetermined explosions, six rocked-assisted projectiles in flight (three east to west, two south-south-west to north-north-east, and one west to east), two illumination flares in flight (one from east to west, one from south-south-west to north-north-east), and 41 small-arms tracer rounds in flight (26 west to east and 15 east to west), all at an unknown distance north of the camera. During the day on 10 January, positioned in Shyrokyne, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions (one at an unknown distance north and one 5-6km north) and uncountable bursts and shots of small-arms fire 3km south.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded an increase of ceasefire violations concentrated in western Luhansk, including nearly 600 explosions as compared with 48 explosions recorded during the previous reporting period. The SMM also recorded violations while positioned in and near the Zolote disengagement area. (See Disengagement Areas section.)

While in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 55km west of Luhansk), in less than two hours the SMM heard more than 300 undetermined explosions 10km west-south-west of its position. Positioned near “LPR”-controlled Donetskyi (49km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard about 100 explosions assessed as large-calibre artillery, about 80 explosions assessed as mortar rounds and at least 40 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 10-12km south-west.

Positioned in Novooleksandrivka (65km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard one undetermined explosion as well as three bursts and about 30 shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire approximately 500m south. Positioned near “LPR”-controlled Veselohorivka (65km west of Luhansk), in just over an hour the SMM heard over 40 undetermined explosions and 600 shots of small-arms fire 10km north-west.

Positioned near government-controlled Novozvanivka (71km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard two outgoing mortar explosions 2km east.

Positioned about 3km south of government-controlled Staryi Aidar (21km north of Luhansk), the SMM heard 14 explosions of artillery rounds 6-8km south-west.

The SMM followed up on reports of civilian casualties. At a hospital in government-controlled Krasnohorivka (21km west of Donetsk), the head doctor told the SMM that they had the body of a recently deceased woman. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) told the SMM that the woman had died from shrapnel injuries sustained to her legs and abdomen.

The SMM followed up on reports about a possible civilian casualty in “DPR”-controlled Bezimenne (100km south of Donetsk). Despite speaking with a Russian Federation Armed Forces officer of the JCCC and seven local residents separately, the SMM could not confirm this information.

The SMM observed damage to residential houses caused by explosions. In Horlivka, a Russian Federation Armed Forces officer of the JCCC led the SMM to two damaged houses near an intersection of Venska and Baltiiska streets. On Venska street, the SMM saw shrapnel damage on the wall and roof of the north-facing side of the house, as well as four large, shattered windows on the same side. Nearby trees had broken and damaged branches. The owner told the SMM that shelling had taken place on 8 January around 21:00. At an adjacent house on Baltiiska street, the SMM observed shrapnel damage to a wooden fence around a house, and saw that a part of the fence had been blown away. The SMM assessed the cause of the damage as an airburst.

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.*

From “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk), the SMM was able to travel through the disengagement area to the government-controlled side of Zolote and back again, noting a calm situation. Over approximately three hours, from five different positions in or near Zolote, however, the Mission recorded ceasefire violations assessed as outside the disengagement area: during the morning of 10 January, positioned approximately 600m south of the disengagement area, the SMM heard seven bursts of small-arms fire 5km south-west. Approximately 30 minutes later, while positioned at a different location in Zolote for about an hour, the SMM heard 38 outgoing explosions assessed as 152mm artillery 5-7km north-west of its position as well as eight explosions assessed as impacts and 17 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 7-10km south-west. During the same period from a different location in Zolote, the SMM heard three undetermined explosions about 5km south. While positioned in two other locations in and near Zolote over two hours, the SMM heard 10 undetermined explosions 5km south-east of each location.

At the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area and in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske, the SMM noted a calm situation.

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 line, the SMM observed one anti-tank gun (probably MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) near a building west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol).

The SMM also observed tracks from heavy weapons and firing positions in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw tracks assessed as tank tracks on a bridge between Sartana (91km south of Donetsk) and Talakivka (90km south of Donetsk) and tracks leading to four large holes about 1.5m deep, 4m wide and 10m long, assessed as firing positions near Sopyne (16km east of Mariupol).

Near “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 92km south of Donetsk), the SMM saw tracks assessed as tank tracks leading in the direction of government-controlled Vodiane (94km south of Donetsk).

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and anti-aircraft guns [2] in the security zone.In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw: two IFVs (BMP-1) as well as an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) mounted on the chassis of a tank (T-55) being towed west near Zaitseve (62km north-east of Donetsk); and an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) mounted on a truck travelling south near Svitlodarsk.

The SMM observed two military-type trucks near “DPR”-controlled Nyzhnia Krynka (31km north-east of Donetsk) travelling east in the direction of Zhdanivka (37km north-east of Donetsk).

The SMM continued to monitor adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to critical infrastructure. Near the Petrivka water pumping station in government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk), the SMM observed a damaged 900mm water pipeline, which according to a representative of Popasna Vodakanal had ruptured again during the early morning hours of 10 January after repairs on 8 January (see SMM Daily Report 9 January 2017). The SMM observed dozens of workers onsite and specialized equipment for removing water from the work site. A technical specialist from Popasna Vodakanal told the SMM that repairs would continue on 11 January.

In government-controlled Orikhove (57km north-west of Luhansk) and “LPR”-controlled Donetskyi (50km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM monitored repairs, facilitated by the JCCC, to two different sections of a railway line that crosses the contact line. In Orikhove, the SMM saw ten repair workers from Ukrainian Railways repairing a 1km long section of the railway. In Donetskyi, the SMM spoke with a representative of an “LPR” repair team onsite who said that they had been clearing the railway of debris and that work would continue the following day.

The SMM visited three border crossing points currently not under government control. At the pedestrian border crossing point near “LPR”-controlled Krasnodarskyi-1 (58km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM observed 15 pedestrians queuing to exit Ukraine. There were no “LPR” members present. At the border crossing points in “DPR”-controlled areas of Marynivka (78km east of Donetsk) and Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed a calm situation.

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.

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. 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.

The SMM was stopped while driving north near government-controlled Chernenko (21km north-east of Mariupol) by three Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel who told the SMM that they could not proceed. The commanding officer said that he was following orders given by higher command. The SMM informed the JCCC.

Near “DPR”-controlled Novolaspa (50km south of Donetsk), the SMM was stopped by armed “DPR” members, who insisted on escorting the patrol to one part of the village but prevented the SMM from proceeding further. The “commander” said he had received orders not to allow the SMM to proceed. The SMM informed the JCCC.

At the entrance to “DPR”-controlled Bila Kamianka (51km south of Donetsk), armed “DPR” members stopped the SMM from proceeding to the village, saying that the road was mined. The SMM informed the JCCC.

Conditional access:

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

Near Shyrokyne, Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel initially told the SMM to leave the area after the SMM spotted an anti-tank gun camouflaged behind a military truck, but subsequently allowed the SMM to remain onsite after requiring that the SMM relocate their vehicles out of the line of site of the weapon.

[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 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