Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 8 August 2017

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and in Luhansk region compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; its access remained restricted there and elsewhere, including in Verkhnoshyrokivske.* It followed up on reports from 2 August of an explosion near non-government controlled Voznesenivka. The Mission saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line. It facilitated and monitored repairs to a water pipe in Zolote, the Petrivske pumping station and the Shchastia power plant. It facilitated and monitored mine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance, co-ordinated by the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), enabling the SMM to pass along the M03 road between Svitlodarsk and Debaltseve. The SMM observed a protest outside the Regional Prosecutor’s office in Lviv.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region, including 28 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 80 explosions).[1]

While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) on the night of 7-8 August, the SMM heard nine undetermined explosions and small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire 5-8km and 8-10km east.

On the night of 7-8 August, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded no ceasefire violations.

On the same night, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north-west of Donetsk) recorded one explosion assessed as an impact 4-6km east-south-east. About an hour later the SMM camera recorded, in sequence, one projectile from east to west and one projectile from west to east (and a subsequent explosion), followed by a total of nine undetermined explosions, two airbursts, 24 projectiles in flight from north-west to south-east, one projectile in flight from south-east to north-west, one projectile in flight from south-west to north-east, 15 tracer rounds and one projectile in flight from south to north, 15 tracer rounds in flight from north to south, 22 shots assessed as fired from an anti-aircraft cannon and 17 projectiles in flight from west to east, all 3-6km east and east-south-east. Positioned in government-controlled Avdiivka for about six and a half hours on 8 August the SMM recorded no ceasefire violations.

On 8 August positioned at the train station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about an hour the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 3-5km west. Positioned at an observation post about 1km west of the train station for about five hours the SMM recorded one undetermined explosion 1-3km west and small-arms fire 1-3km west and north-west.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, but more explosions (157) compared with the previous reporting period (39 explosions).

While in government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) throughout the night of 7-8 August the SMM heard 96 undetermined explosions: six assessed as mortar rounds and 28 as infantry fighting vehicle (IFV; BMP-1) cannon (73mm) fire, all 5-7km north-east; 24 overlapping explosions assessed as caused by mortar or artillery rounds, and 14 explosions assessed as caused by mortar rounds, all 4-10km south-east; 16 explosions assessed as caused by IFV (BMP-1) cannon (73mm) fire 6-9km south-east; eight undetermined explosions 4-10km north, north-east and 4-10km south-east; and IFV (BMP-2) cannon (30mm), small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire, all 4-10km east and south-east.

On the night of 7-8 August the SMM, while in government-controlled Sievierodonetsk (74km north-west of Luhansk) heard 24 undetermined explosions 15-25km east.

Positioned on the northern outskirts of “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 24 undetermined explosions: 23 explosions 10-13km east-south-east and one 5-8km south-west (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

The SMM followed up on reports of civilian casualties caused by an explosion in a border area near “LPR”-controlled Voznesenivka (formerly Chervonopartyzansk, 65km south-east of Luhansk) on 2 August (see SMM Daily Report, 3 August). On 4 August two men told the SMM that as they lifted a stone panel that formed part of a new monument in Voznesenivka, an explosion occurred which injured a total of five men, including them. Medical staff at the regional hospital in “LPR”-controlled Dovzhansk (formerly Sverdlovsk, 60km south-east of Luhansk) told the SMM that five men had been admitted on 2 August. Staff said four of them had minor injuries and had been discharged on the same day. Staff said that one casualty had more serious injuries and had undergone surgery. According to medical staff, the man had suffered abdominal injuries in the explosion.

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.*

An SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) observed a Kraz Cougar armoured vehicle near the Zolote disengagement area on 8 August.

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 four multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21, _Grad, _122mm) near government-controlled Khlibodarivka (65km south-west of Donetsk).

Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside storage sites the SMM observed 12 towed guns (2A36, Giatsint-B, 152mm) near government-controlled Khlibodarivka.

In violation of the respective withdrawal lines in non-government controlled areas an SMM UAV observed, on 5 August, three west-facing mortar pits each containing a mortar (120mm) in a firing position that were partially obscured with netting near “DPR”-controlled Nyzhnie Lozove (59km north-east of Donetsk), about 2km east of the M03 road between Svitlodarsk and Debaltseve.

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 two surface-to-air missile systems (9K33 Osa). The SMM observed 13 towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) missing from one site. Four sites continued to be observed as abandoned.

The SMM revisited a permanent storage site, whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines. In a government-controlled area the SMM observed that nine tanks (T-80) were missing for the first time and that 21 tanks (T-72) continued to be missing.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and anti-aircraft weapons[2] in the security zone. In government-controlled areas an SMM mid-range UAV observed one armoured personnel carrier (APC; BRDM) and two APC (one BTR-60 or BTR-70 and one MTLB), all stationary near Sopyne (16km east of Mariupol) on 5 August.

In non-government controlled areas the SMM observed one stationary tank (T-64) south-west of “LPR”-controlled Slovianoserbsk (28km north-west of Luhansk); two IFV (BTR-80) travelling in convoy with 23 covered military-type trucks in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk). On 5 August an SMM mid-range UAV spotted one IFV (BMP) and one APC (BTR) near “DPR”-controlled Sakhanka (23km east of Mariupol) and one APC (BTR-60 or BTR-70) near “DPR”-controlled Nyzhnie Lozove.

The SMM continued to observe the presence of mines. On 5 August an SMM mid-range UAV spotted 20 anti-tank mines (TM-62) laid across the T0519 road and a further two rows of seven and six anti-tank mines (TM-62) near Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol). The Mission previously observed mines in this area on 20 July (see SMM Daily Report, 21 July 2017).

The SMM facilitated and monitored clearance of mines and UXO, co-ordinated by the JCCC, of the M03 road between Svitlodarsk and Debaltseve. Demining teams of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Ministry of Emergency Situations cleared the section of road between the forward positions of the Armed Forces and those of the armed formations, while the SMM monitored from a distance. The SMM observed that 12 shells (100mm), one anti-tank guided missile (9M113 Konkurs, 135mm), three grenades (VOG25), three recoilless gun (SPG9, 73mm) rounds, three shell (100mm) fuses and one 14.5mm round that the demining team said they had cleared. The Mission was able to travel the road from Svitlodarsk to Debaltseve for only the second time since early 2015 and the first time since 19 July (see SMM Daily Report 20 July).

In government-controlled Novoselivka Druha (23km north of Donetsk) the SMM observed soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in at least three civilian houses in different parts of the village. The walls of houses had been reinforced with sandbags and windows had been covered in camouflage netting. The SMM also observed two or three military vehicles (not armoured) in different parts of the village.

The SMM facilitated and monitored repairs to essential infrastructure, co-ordinated by the JCCC. Positioned on both sides of the contact line, the SMM monitored repair works at the Petrivske water pumping station in government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk). In government-controlled Zolote the SMM monitored repairs to enable Popasna Vodakanal to repair the Karbonit-Zolote water pipeline. The SMM also continued to facilitate and monitor maintenance works at the power plant in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk).

On 7 August the SMM monitored a protest outside the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Lviv. The SMM saw about 80 people (mostly men aged between 20 and 60), many wearing t-shirts with the National Corps Party logo and six people carrying National Corps Party flags. The SMM spoke to one man who said that they were protesting against the recent apartment searches and criminal proceedings that were opened on 4 August 2017 against some of party activists. (See SMM Daily Report 2 June 2017). About 70 riot police were observed at the entrance to the Prosecutor’s Office as well as 30 police officers and four minibuses with additional riot police stationed nearby. The SMM observed five smoke canisters being thrown from the crowd before the protestors walked from the Prosecutor’s Office toward the Regional Police Administration where the protest continued and an additional two smoke canisters were thrown. The SMM observed about 40 police officers in front of the Regional Police entrance. No further incidents were observed.

The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, 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:

  • Armed men prevented the SMM from proceeding east from a checkpoint in “DPR”-controlled Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, 29km north-east of Mariupol), insisting that they show passports. The SMM refused, withdrew from the area and informed the JCCC. The SMM returned to the checkpoint about two hours later and was granted passage.

Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:

  • 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 demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.

  • 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 demining had taken place over the previous 24 hours. The SMM informed the JCCC.

  • 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 demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.

  • The SMM could not travel across the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia 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.

[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