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

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous reporting period. The SMM observed bullet impacts to one of its newly installed cameras at the Donetsk Filtration Station which rendered the camera inoperable. Near Vasylivka it heard shots and bursts of small-arms fire in the area where it was flying its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), assessed as being aimed at the UAV. It continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; its access remained restricted there and elsewhere, including in Novoazovsk, Oleksandrivske and Horlivka. * The Mission saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines in Sievierodonetsk and in Slovianoserbsk. It observed that mines had been placed back on the road between Svitlodarsk and Debaltseve. The SMM visited two border areas not under government control in Luhansk region.

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region, including about 190 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (28 explosions).[1]

On the evening of 8 August, while in government-controlled Mariupol (102km south of Donetsk), in about 15 minutes, the SMM heard nine undetermined explosions.

On the evening of 8 August, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), in about an hour, the SMM heard about 80 undetermined explosions and about 140 shots and bursts of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire, 5-7km east.

On the evening and night of 8-9 August, the SMM camera in Avdiivka (17km north-west of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, 20 explosions assessed as impacts, one projectile in flight from east to west, eight projectiles in flight from west to east, followed by aggregated totals of two outgoing explosions, two explosions assessed as impacts, 100 projectiles in flight (50 from east to west, 42 from west to east, seven from north-west to south-east and one from south-east to north-west) and 79 tracer rounds in flight (53 from east to west, 11 from west to east and 15 from north-west to south-east), all 4-6km east-south-east.

On the evening and night of 8-9 August, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, in sequence, two tracer rounds in flight from east to west, ten undetermined explosions, one tracer round in flight from west to east, followed by aggregated totals of 12 undetermined explosions, 52 tracer rounds in flight (25 from east to west, 26 from west to east and one from south-west to north-east), eight rocket-assisted projectiles in flight (four from east to west and four from west to east) and two illumination flares in vertical flight, all at unknown distances north.

On the night of 8-9 August, while in Donetsk city centre, the SMM heard 26 undetermined explosions 8-10km north-west.

On 9 August, positioned about 4km north of government-controlled Novotroitske (36km south-west of Donetsk), in five minutes, the SMM heard about 50 shots of heavy-machine-gun fire and one explosion assessed as an impact at unknown distances north-east.

Positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), in about an hour, the SMM heard ten undetermined explosions 5-7km west.

Positioned at a water pumping station 2.5km south-west of “DPR”-controlled Vasylivka (20km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard one burst and three shots of small-arms fire in the area where it was flying a mini UAV, 200-500m west of its position, followed by another burst of small-arms fire 100-200m south-south-west of its position. The SMM assessed the bursts and shots as being aimed at the UAV, which it managed to land safely.

On 9 August, the SMM observed damage to one of its two newly installed cameras – one thermal and one CCTV – at the Donetsk Filtration Station located between Avdiivka and Yasynuvata. The SMM observed ten bullet impacts to the thermal camera and four bullet impacts to the camera mast. The CCTV camera and the signal transmitter were found intact, but the camera was not operational. The SMM observed two bullet impacts to the CCTV camera’s cable hose. The SMM assessed that all bullets had been fired from a south-westerly direction at a distance of 600-800m and from the same altitude as the cameras’ location, 10-12m above the ground. (See SMM Spot Report 10 August 2017.)

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 540 explosions compared with the previous reporting period (157 explosions).

On the evening and night of 8-9 August, while in government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard about 160 explosions of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-1) cannon (73mm) fire, about 370 explosions (185 assessed as caused by mortar or artillery rounds, 70 assessed as outgoing IFV (BMP-1) cannon (73mm) fire and 115 undetermined), about 580 shots and bursts of IFV (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) and anti-aircraft-gun (ZU-23) cannon (23mm) and small-arms fire, all 4-6km at distances ranging from north-east to south-west. On 9 August, the SMM heard 32 undetermined explosions 12km north-east and one undetermined explosion 3-5km south-east.

On 9 August, positioned 1.5km south of government-controlled Muratove (51km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 12 undetermined explosions and ten bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 3-5km south-east.

The SMM observed damage to essential infrastructure, accompanied by a Russian Federation officer of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), in the area around the water pumping station 2.5km south-west of Vasylivka. The SMM saw previously observed mine signs in English and Ukrainian language reading “danger mines” on both sides of a secondary road leading to the pumping station, as well as damage to power lines. The SMM saw that both power lines had been cut at electricity pylons at two locations a few hundred metres apart and at least two pylons had been destroyed, 200m south-west of the pumping station. The SMM also saw a fresh crater in a field 400-500m south of the water pumping station. A representative of the water company Voda Donbassa informed the SMM that the power lines led to the villages around “DPR”-controlled Kruta Balka (16km north of Donetsk) and that a 1km section of the power line was in need of repair.

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 evening of 7 August, the SMM camera in government-controlled Zolote recorded two projectiles in flight from north to south 2.5km east, assessed as outside the disengagement area.

On the night of 8-9 August, the SMM camera in Stanytsia Luhanska recorded seven explosions (three assessed as impacts, three assessed as outgoing and one undetermined) 2-5km north-west and 11 undetermined explosions 3-5km north-east, all assessed as outside the disengagement area. On 9 August, positioned 1km south-east of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 300m north-east, assessed as outside the disengagement area.

Positioned in government-controlled Bohdanivka (41km south-west of Donetsk), near “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 lines the SMM observed 12 anti-tank guns (MT-12, Rapira, 100mm) in government-controlled Sievierodonetsk (74km north-west of Luhansk).

In “LPR”-controlled Slovianoserbsk (28km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM observed a stationary tank (T-64).

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 that 18 anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100m) and three anti-tank guns (D-48, 85mm) continued to be missing.

The SMM revisited an “LPR” permanent storage site whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines and observed that seven towed howitzers (D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm) continued to be missing.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and an anti-aircraft weapon[2] in the security zone. In government-controlled areas the SMM saw an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) mounted on a military truck at a checkpoint near Pisky (11km north-west of Donetsk) and an IFV (BMP-2) being transported on a military truck near Kostiantynivka (33km south-west of Donetsk) travelling south.

In non-government-controlled areas the SMM saw fresh tracks of at least three armoured personnel carriers (APC) (MT-LB or MT-LBu) chassis on the asphalt road leading towards the water pumping station near Vasylivka.

On 8 August, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted about 110m of newly dug trenches in the yard of a house in “DPR”-controlled Kashtanove (13km north of Donetsk); and about 35m of newly dug trenches running along the western edge of Vasylivka about 400m south of the Vasylivka pumping station.

The SMM continued to observe the presence of mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO). On 8 August, following the clearance of mines and UXO on road M03 between Svitlodarsk and “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk) earlier in the day, co-ordinated by JCCC (see SMM Daily Report 9 August 2017), the SMM observed Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers placing anti-tank mines back into position on the road south-east of Svitlodarsk.

On 8 August, in non-government-controlled areas, an SMM mid-range UAV again spotted the presence of eight previously seen anti-tank mines (TM-62) in a row laid across road M03 between Debaltseve and Svitlodarsk, about 80m north-north-west of an “LPR” checkpoint. The same UAV again spotted anti-tank mines (TM-62) about 60m south-south-east of the first row, 16 of which were laid across road M03 in two rows and 40 of which were piled nearby in the grass at two locations on the side of the road. (See SMM Daily Report 25 July 2017.)

On 9 August, on road H21 2.5km south-west of “LPR”-controlled Obozne (18km north of Luhansk) the SMM observed one previously seen mortar tail fin (82mm) embedded in the asphalt road and, about 500m north, the SMM saw that six previously seen anti-tank mines on the road leading toward government-controlled Shchastia bridge (20km north of Luhansk) had been removed (see SMM Daily Report 2 February 2017.) On a lane leading toward Shchastia bridge, about 300m north of an “LPR” checkpoint, the SMM observed four previously seen anti-tank mines (TM-62) (see SMM Daily Report 30 March 2017.)*

The SMM saw 12 people in civilian clothes who were using metal detectors to check the eastern side of road R66 for mines, 2.5km east of government-controlled Myrna Dolyna (67km north-west of Luhansk).

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor maintenance works to the water pump at the power plant in Shchastia. (See SMM Daily Report 9 August 2017.)

The SMM visited two border areas not under government control in Luhansk region. At the border crossing point near Voznesenivka (formerly Chervonopartyzansk, 65km south-east of Luhansk), in about one hour, the SMM saw eight cars (five with Ukrainian, two with Russian Federation and one with Georgian licence plates), one passenger bus (with Russian Federation licence plates marked “Gukovo-Sverdlovsk”, carrying about 30 people), one covered cargo truck (with Ukrainian licence plates) and one refrigerated truck (with Ukrainian licence plates) in a queue to exit Ukraine and seven cars (four with Ukrainian and three with Russian Federation licence plates) and one fuel truck (with Russian Federation licence plates) enter Ukraine.

At the pedestrian border crossing point in Verkhnoharasymivka (57km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM observed that it was still unstaffed (See SMM Daily Report 24 July 2017) and, in about one hour, saw six people entering Ukraine and nine people exiting.

The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Lviv, 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:

At a checkpoint on E58 road north of Novoazovsk, an armed “DPR” member prevented the SMM from entering Novoazovsk and from proceeding east towards the border with the Russian Federation as he said that passage through this checkpoint had not been pre-arranged. The SMM informed the JCCC. An armed “DPR” member at the side of a road in the outskirts of “DPR”-controlled Oleksandrivske (formerly Rozy Liuksemburh, 90km south-east of Donetsk) said that the SMM was not allowed to proceed further towards “DPR”-controlled Markyne (94km south of Donetsk) as military training activities were ongoing in the area. The SMM informed the JCCC. 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 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 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. The SMM saw anti-tank mines near an “LPR” checkpoint south-east of government-controlled Shchastia which prevented the SMM from proceeding toward the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC.
Conditional access:

While crossing a checkpoint on road T-0513 at the north-western edge of “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), on two occasions the patrol was only allowed to proceed after armed “DPR” members searched the trunk of the SMM’s vehicles, as well as the patrol members’ personal bags. 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