Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 11 August 2017
This report is for the media and the general public.
The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and fewer in Luhansk region compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; its access was restricted there and elsewhere, including in Novoazovsk.* The SMM observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines in Luhansk city. The Mission continued to facilitate and monitor repair and maintenance of infrastructure in Shchastia and Zolote. It again 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 travel the M03 road between Svitlodarsk and Debaltseve. The Mission visited two border areas not under government control in Luhansk region.
On the night of 10-11 August, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, one projectile in flight from west to east, one projectile from north-west to south-east, two tracer rounds in flight from north-west to south-east, five projectiles from south to north, one projectile from north-west to south-east, and six tracer rounds from south to north, followed by aggregated totals of nine undetermined explosions, four airbursts, almost 60 projectiles (13 from north to south, four from east to west, two from south-east to north-west, 26 from south to north, one from south-west to north-east, five from west to east, and seven from north-west to south-east), and almost 800 tracer rounds (at least 515 from north to south, about 90 from south to north, about 20 from west to east, and about 155 from north-west to south-east), all 4-6km east-south-east or south-east.
Around mid-day on 11 August, positioned in Avdiivka, the SMM heard about 30 undetermined explosions 2-5km south-east. During an eight-minute period in early afternoon, positioned at the SMM camera site in south-western Avdiivka, the Mission heard and saw 22 explosions assessed as impacts and 21 explosions assessed as outgoing rounds – and heard uncountable overlapping bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire – all 1-6km at directions ranging from east to south-south-east. The SMM also heard and saw six explosions assessed as outgoing mortar rounds 1.6km south-east. Shortly afterward the Mission heard three undetermined explosions and about 20 bursts of small-arms fire, all 3-5km south-east.
In the early morning of 11 August, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 24 undetermined explosions 3-5km south-west and two undetermined explosions 3-5km south-east.
On the night of 10-11 August, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, in sequence, about 100 tracer rounds in flight from west to east, five explosions assessed as impacts, about 50 tracer rounds from east to west, and 22 tracer rounds from west to east, all at undetermined distances north-north-east.
In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including about 190 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 220 explosions).
On the night of 10-11 August, while in government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard: three explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) 5-7km north-east; almost 100 undetermined explosions, 18 shots of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) fire, and about 200 shots of small-arms fire, all 3-10km at directions ranging from north to east; and 12 explosions assessed as 152mm artillery rounds, about 80 undetermined explosions, about 25 shots of IFV (BMP-2) cannon fire, and seven bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 4-15km at directions ranging from south-east to south-west.
During the day on 11 August, positioned in “LPR”-controlled Holubivske (51km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard two explosions assessed as outgoing mortar rounds 3-4km north-east. Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Pionerske (19km east of Luhansk), the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 2-3km north.
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 9 August, the SMM camera in government-controlled Zolote recorded six projectiles in flight from north-east to south-west 4.8km south-south-west, assessed as outside the disengagement area, and, over an hour later, two undetermined explosions 5.5-6km east, also assessed as outside the disengagement area.
Positioned in the disengagement area near government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska, 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 withdrawal lines in non-government-controlled areas, on 10 August the SMM observed six surface-to-air missile systems (9K35 Strela-10, 120mm) travelling south-west in the south-eastern outskirts of Luhansk city.
The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and an anti-aircraft gun, and heard an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), in the security zone. In government-controlled areas the SMM saw, on 10 August, two armoured personnel carriers (APCs) (BRDM-2) near Popasna (one stationary and one travelling east) and, on 11 August, two APCs (BRDM-2) travelling east near Karlivka (25km north-west of Donetsk).
In non-government-controlled areas the SMM saw, on 10 August, an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) mounted on a military-type truck among nine other military-type trucks, all of which had covered cargo areas, travelling south-west in the south-eastern outskirts of Luhansk city. Positioned on the M03 road north-west of Lohvynove (59km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard a sound assessed as the rotary wings of a quadcopter mini-UAV at an undetermined distance north-west.
The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repair and maintenance, co-ordinated by the JCCC, to a water pump at the power plant in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) and a water pipeline between Zolote and Popasna. (See SMM Daily Report 11 August 2017.)
The SMM again facilitated and monitored mine and UXO clearance, co-ordinated by the JCCC, enabling the SMM to pass along the M03 road between Svitlodarsk and Debaltseve for the second time this week. (See SMM Daily Report 9 August 2017.)
Prior to planned mine and UXO clearance activities, co-ordinated by the JCCC, on a road to a gas distribution station near government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk), a Russian Federation officer of the JCCC told the SMM that “DPR” members had withdrawn security guarantees after an alleged shelling of the Trudivskyi area of Donetsk city’s Petrovskyi district (15km south-west of Donetsk city centre) on the night of 10-11 August. (The JCCC had confirmed receipt of security guarantees from both sides on 10 August.) As a result of the lack of security guarantees, the planned clearance activities did not take place.
The SMM visited two border areas not under government control in Luhansk region. During an hour and a half at a border crossing point near Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM observed 57 cars (46 with Ukrainian and 11 with Russian Federation licence plates) and three buses (two with Ukrainian and one with Russian Federation licence plates) with about 50 passengers each in a queue to exit Ukraine and nine cars (eight with Ukrainian and one with Russian Federation licence plates) and two buses (both with Ukrainian licence plates) with about 50 passengers each entering Ukraine. The Mission also saw 69 pedestrians exit Ukraine and 57 pedestrians entering Ukraine (men and women of different ages in both directions).
During just over an hour at a border crossing point near Dovzhanske (84km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM observed 23 civilian cars (16 with Ukrainian and six with Russian Federation licence plates, and one with “LPR” plates), five trucks with covered cargo areas (all with Ukrainian licence plates), and four buses (all with Ukrainian licence plates and about 30 passengers each) in a queue to exit Ukraine, and 24 civilian cars (13 with Ukrainian and 11 with Russian Federation licence plates), five trucks with covered cargo areas (all with Ukrainian licence plates), one bus (with Ukrainian licence plates and about 40 passengers), and 15 pedestrians (nine men and six women of different ages) entering 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:
- At a checkpoint north of “DPR”-controlled Novoazovsk (40km east of Mariupol), an armed “DPR” member again prevented the SMM from entering the town. The SMM informed the JCCC.
Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:
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 was prevented from accessing secondary roads south of the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. An armed “LPR” member 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 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.
 This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.
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