Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 6 August 2017

This report is for the media and the general public.

Between the evenings of 4 and 5 August the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and more in Luhansk region compared with the previous reporting period. Between the evenings of 5 and 6 August, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and more in Luhansk region compared with the previous 24 hours. The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded ceasefire violations near the Zolote disengagement area. Its access remained restricted there and in “DPR”-controlled Novoazovsk and Verkhnoshyrokivske.* It facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to a water pipe in Zolote. The SMM monitored two border areas not under government control.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region between the evenings of 4 and 5 August, including 81 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 120 explosions).[1] Between the evenings of 5 and 6 August the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including 36 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours.

On the night of 4-5 August the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded six tracer rounds in flight from west to east. About an hour later the SMM camera recorded, in sequence, 15 tracer rounds from east to west, one rocket-assisted projectile from east to west and one undetermined explosion, followed by a total of 191 tracers from east to west, 106 tracers from west to east, one rocket-assisted projectile from west to east and 11 undetermined explosions, all an unknown distance north.

While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) on the night of 4-5 August, the SMM heard 21 undetermined explosions and heavy-machine-gun fire 3-6km south and south-east.

On the same night, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north-west of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, one undetermined explosion 4-6km east-south-east followed by 16 projectiles in flight from north to south and 22 in flight from south to north 4-6km east-south-east. About one hour later the SMM camera then recorded, in sequence over a four and a half-hour period, four projectiles from north to south, 31 projectiles and 25 tracer rounds in flight from south to north and one projectile from south-east to north-west, all 4-6km east-south-east. During the morning of 5 August the SMM camera recorded seven undetermined explosions, all 4-5km east-south-east.

On 5 August positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM recorded five undetermined explosions and heavy-machine-gun fire 3-10km west and north-west. Later, positioned at an observation post about 1km west of the railway station the SMM heard three undetermined explosions and heavy-machine-gun fire 2-6km west.

On 5 August, positioned at the Donetsk filtration station (15km north of Donetsk city) the SMM saw and heard two explosions assessed as impacts 0.5km south-west and 1km south-west respectively, and heard two undetermined explosions 1km south-west. Positioned at the same location on 6 August the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 1km south-east and small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire 1-1.5km south-west.

Positioned near government-controlled Novoselivka Druha (23km north of Donetsk) on 5 August the SMM heard 12 undetermined explosions and small-arms fire 2-3km south-east.

On 5 August positioned about 2km south-east of government-controlled Lebedynske (16km east of Mariupol) the SMM recorded 26 undetermined explosions north-east and east, heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire north-east and east and one burst of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV; BMP-2) cannon (30mm) fire north-east.

On the night of 5-6 August the SMM camera in Avdiivka recorded a sequence of two undetermined explosions 6-8km south-south-east, followed two hours later by eight tracer rounds in flight from north to south 4-5km south-east, two undetermined explosions 6-7km south-east, one airburst and one projectile in flight from north-west to south-east 4-5km south-east. Over the following six hours the SMM camera recorded a total of seven explosions assessed as impacts 4-5km east-south-east; one undetermined explosion 6-7km south-east; a total of 11 tracer rounds and 11 projectiles in flight from north to south and eight projectiles in flight from north-west to south-east 4-5km east-south-east; 12 projectiles and eight tracer rounds in flight from west to east 4-5km east-south-east; four tracer rounds in vertical flight 3-4km east-south-east; nine tracer rounds in flight from south to north and 11 from south-west to north-east and three from east to west, all 4-5km east-south-east of the camera.

On the night of 5-6 August the SMM camera in Shyrokyne recorded, in sequence, five tracer rounds in flight from west to east, 19 from east to west, seven from west to east and two undetermined explosions, followed by nine tracers from west to east, 15 from east to west, two from west to east, one from east to west, two from west to east, seven from east to west and one from west to east, all an unknown distance north. Over the following five hours the SMM camera recorded totals of 121 tracer rounds in flight from east to west, 35 from west to east and seven undetermined explosions, all an unknown distance north.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including 13 explosions, between the evenings of 4 and 5 August compared with the previous reporting period (two explosions). The Mission recorded more ceasefire violations, including 31 explosions, between the evenings of 5 and 6 August compared with the previous 24 hours.

While in government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) on the night of 4-5 August the SMM heard 12 explosions assessed as impacts of mortar rounds 5km south-east. While at the same location on the night of 5-6 August the SMM heard, over the course of about seven hours, a total of four explosions assessed as impacts of mortar rounds (120mm), three explosions assessed as impacts of mortar rounds (82mm), three explosions assessed as outgoing mortar rounds (82mm), 17 undetermined explosions assessed as caused by mortar rounds (82mm), uncountable bursts of IFV (BMP-2, 30mm) cannon, automatic-grenade-launcher and small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire, all 4-5km south-east. The SMM also heard three explosions assessed as caused by outgoing artillery (152mm) rounds 10km north and 15km north-east.

Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Sentianivka (formerly Frunze, 44km west of Luhansk) on the evening of 5 August the SMM heard five explosions assessed as impacts of mortar rounds (82mm) and ten bursts assessed as caused by anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) fire, all 5km north-west.

On the night of 5 August, while in “LPR”-controlled Luhansk city the SMM heard one explosion 1.5-4km north-west.

The SMM confirmed reports of an injury to a civilian. Following media reports that a man had been admitted to Kalinina hospital in Donetsk city the SMM, accompanied by “DPR” members and Russian Federation officers of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), spoke with a 57-year-old man from the Trudivskyi area of Donetsk city’s Petrovskyi district (15km south-west of Donetsk city centre) who said he was injured in an explosion on 4 August. He told the SMM that as he approached a checkpoint in Petrovskyi district on his scooter (with his wife as a passenger) he saw an explosion about 100m away. He said the blast wave threw him off the scooter, knocking him unconscious. He said his wife was not injured. The SMM observed that the man had bandages on his left shoulder and arm; medical staff at Kalinina hospital said the man sustained five or six broken ribs.

The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas near 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 2016. The SMM’s access remained restricted but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*

On the night of 3-4 August, the SMM camera in government-controlled Zolote recorded seven projectiles in vertical flight 2-3km east (assessed as outside the disengagement area). On 5 August, positioned in “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard two shots of small-arms fire 2-3km west (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

Inside the Zolote disengagement area the SMM saw four small metallic and plastic objects assessed as old remnants of used flares on the side of the road about 400m north of the “LPR” checkpoint on 5 August.

In an “LPR”-controlled area south of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge the SMM observed, for the first time, eight rusted 82mm mortar tail fins embedded in the asphalt north-east of the Prince Ihor monument on 5 August (outside of the disengagement area).

On 6 August the SMM was present on both sides of the contact line at the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge to facilitate the removal of unexploded ordnance (recoilless gun, SPG-9 tail) that had been embedded in a concrete pylon on the northern side of the Sieverskyi Donets river 100m south of the southernmost Ukrainian Armed Forces position. The SMM observed a de-miner from the Ukrainian Armed Forces climb the pylon and remove the unexploded ordnance (UXO).

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

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 SMM observed: 12 towed howitzers (2A65, Msta-B, 152mm) and six anti-tank guns (MT-12, Rapira, 100mm). The SMM also observed that 13 towed howitzers (five 2A65, Msta-B and eight 2A36, Giatsint-B, 152mm) and six anti-tank guns (MT-12, Rapira) continued to be absent.

The SMM revisited one permanent storage site, whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines and observed that one tank (T-64) was missing from a site in an area under “LPR” control.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles[2] in the security zone. In government-controlled areas the SMM observed an IFV (BMP-1) on a flatbed truck heading west near government-controlled Plotyna (29km north-east of Luhansk) on 5 August and one armoured personnel carrier (APC; BTR-4), one APC (BRDM) and an automatic grenade launcher, all stationary and covered with camouflage nets at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint in government-controlled Makarove (19km north-east of Luhansk) on 6 August.

In non-government controlled areas the SMM observed an APC (BTR-60) near “DPR”-controlled Shevchenko** (**38km north-east of Mariupol) and a truck towing an IFV (BMP-1) east near “DPR”-controlled Zaichenko (26km north-east of Mariupol).

The SMM monitored the situation of civilians living near the contact line. Residents in “DPR”-controlled Sakhanka (24km north-east of Mariupol) told the SMM that some “DPR” members had moved into uninhabited houses in the village, despite objections from neighbours. Several residents told the SMM that they had seen tanks and heard outgoing fire from the village. The SMM observed about ten men dressed in military-style clothing, two of whom were armed. As the SMM was in the village, it overheard “DPR” members telling residents not to talk to the SMM. Armed “DPR” members approached the SMM and asked to see identification and the patrol plan.* When the SMM refused, “DPR” members said the SMM would not be allowed to move. After ten minutes “DPR” members told the SMM to leave.

The SMM facilitated and monitored repairs to essential infrastructure, co-ordinated by the JCCC. On 5 and 6 August the SMM monitored repairs to enable the Popasna Vodakanal Company to repair the Karbonit-Zolote water pipeline in government-controlled Zolote.

The SMM visited two border areas not under control of the Government. At the border crossing point near Sievernyi (50km south-east of Luhansk) on 5 August for about 40 minutes the SMM observed ten people (six women and four men) exit Ukraine and 12 (five women and seven men) enter. At the border crossing point in “LPR”-controlled Dovzhanske (84km south-east of Luhansk) for about an hour on 6 August the SMM observed 12 cars (seven with Russian Federation licence plates, four with Ukrainian licence plates and one with Georgian licence plates), one bus (with Ukrainian licence plates and bearing the sign “Rostov-Stakhanov”, written in Russian) and three pedestrians (six women and a man) enter Ukraine. During the same period the SMM observed 25 cars (15 Ukrainian and ten Russian Federation licence plates), six buses with Ukrainian licence plates (one with “Krasnyi Luch-Rostov” displayed, another with “Alchevsk-Luhansk-Yalta-Sevastopol”, three bearing “Luhansk-Rostov”, and one with “Horlivka-Moscow”, all written in Russian) exit Ukraine.

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, 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. The SMM’s operations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions remained restricted following_the fatal incident of 23 April near Pryshyb; these restrictions continued to limit the Mission’s observations; including at the disengagement area near Petrivske.

Denial of access:

  • On 5 August armed men denied the SMM access to “DPR”-controlled Novoazovsk (40km east of Mariupol) at a checkpoint north of the town. The SMM informed the JCCC.

  • On 6 August three armed “DPR” members denied the SMM from travelling east through a checkpoint near Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, 29km north-east of Mariupol). The SMM returned to the same checkpoint a few hours later and was allowed to pass.

  • On 6 August in Sakhanka armed “DPR” members interrupted the SMM’s monitoring and told the SMM to leave the area.

Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:

  • On 5 August the SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads south of the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. Armed “LPR” members positioned on the southern side of the Zolote disengagement area (3km north of Pervomaisk) told the SMM that no de-mining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.

  • On 5 and 6 August the possible presence of mines and UXO prevented the SMM from accessing secondary roads north of the Zolote disengagement area. At a checkpoint on the northern edge of the area a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM that no de-mining had taken place over the previous 24 hours. The SMM informed the JCCC.

  • On 5 and 6 August the SMM was prevented from accessing parts of the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, with the exception of the main road, due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian officer of the JCCC told the SMM that no de-mining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.

  • On 5 and 6 August the SMM could not travel across the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) due to the presence of mines. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC said there were mines on the road south of the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC.

  • On 5 August on a road north-east of “LPR”-controlled Raivka (16km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM saw a mine hazard sign which read “Stop. Mines.” in Russian. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.

[1] **Please see the annexed table for a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations as well as a 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

Mariia Aleksevych

Senior Press Assistant

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine

26 Turhenievska Street

01054 Kyiv

Ukraine

Office: +380 44 392 0849

Mobile: +380 50 381 5192

Mobile: +380 93 691 6790

mariia.aleksevych@osce.org

smm-media@osce.org