Ukraine

Latest news from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received until 18:00 hrs, 19 June (Kyiv time)

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KYIV 20 June 2014

This update is provided for media and general public

The situation across the country was calm, except parts of Donbas where tensions remained. Donetsk city remained calm, with no substantive change to the security situation. The Donetsk team has been missing for 25 and the Luhansk team for 22 days. The SMM Head Office, in co-operation with the Office in Ukraine of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), have organized and have begun to implement a joint training programme of monitors from each of the ten teams on the topic of internally displaced persons (IDPs). The purpose of this UNHCR-facilitated training, carried out over the next three weeks, is to strengthen the capacity of the SMM to monitor and report on the situation regarding IDPs.

In Kharkiv the situation remained calm. The SMM met with the head of the Barvinkove (166 kilometres south of Kharkiv) district administration who stated that there were a total of 514 IDPs in the district accommodated with local families. The administration head explained that 80 per cent of the IDPs were women, children and elderly. Beyond the 514 IDPs the district administration had registered, the interlocutor estimated that there were around 200 unregistered IDPs in the district. The hosting families were not receiving financial support from any state institutions, as such funding had not been foreseen within the budget. The interlocutor expected the arrival of 30 more IDPs to the district that day. The interlocutor mentioned that IDP pensioners had been advised by the administration regarding their application for pensions. However, problems occurred with the system to arrange the payment of pensions in locations other than their residence. The SMM was told that many pensioners face bureaucratic and banking difficulties in obtaining their pension.

The SMM visited the Dvorichna district (20 kilometres northeast of Kupyansk) and met with the head of the district administration who informed that 27 IDP families from Luhansk were accommodated in the district. Nine IDPs from Luhansk were expected to arrive in the district the same day. IDPs without relatives in the district were provided with vacant, fully-furnished houses.

In southern parts of the Luhansk region, the situation remained tense. The SMM met in Luhansk the head of the Regional Council who stated that he was disappointed by the election of the new president. According to him, dialogue was difficult because “Kyiv” decided to continue the “anti-terrorist operation”. In his view, there was no military solution to this crisis. He expressed gratitude to the work of the SMM, particularly in supporting a negotiated solution and in reporting correctly about the situation. The interlocutor told the SMM that the Regional Administration had relocated to Svatove, but that the mayor of Luhansk (Serhiy Kravchenko) had remained at his place, in the city, like almost all mayors in the region who remained in their towns.

The head of the Regional Council could not provide figures on how many people had already left the city. According to him, many people went to Russia, as they had relatives or friends there. The SMM observed that over the last three days the railway station was very crowded during the day, with long queues at the ticket counters.

In Donetsk the SMM observed a queue of thirty people outside the “Raiffeisen Bank Aval”. The people were former customers of the now liquidated public joint stock company “Brokbiznesbank”. They were advised to apply to “Raiffeisen Bank Aval” if they wanted to receive compensation, and were required to present their passport and taxpayer identification number. The announcement of water rationing posted at some apartment blocks on Sunday in Donetsk city had not been implemented yet. It should be noted that for the last five years, parts of Donetsk city have experienced persistent water rationing from 22:30 to 06:00 daily.

In Dnepropetrovsk the SMM met with representatives of the Ukraine State Emergency Service who presented an overview of the planning in place for IDPs coming from the east. The State Emergency Service co-operated with the Dnepropetrovsk Governor’s Office, law enforcement and defence agencies. The Emergency Service identified five locations (Orly, Slovianka, Yuryivka, Oleksandropil and Novopidhorodne) near the administrative border between the Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk regions where they had established, in co-ordination with local bodies, transit points for IDPs. At these facilities IDPs could receive temporary care upon arrival, before determining where they would be relocated to, either within Dnepropetrovsk region or further afield.

The Emergency Service started operations last week in anticipation of an influx of IDPs after humanitarian corridors were created. It established a joint taskforce of fifty persons comprised of law enforcement, medical, passport, social and psychological assistance agencies that were to be deployed to the five transit points mentioned above, who would co-ordinate with the local and city administrations and security services. The SMM was told that the Emergency Service planned to put measures in place which would enable them to respond to the possible needs of about 680,000 IDPs.

In Odessa the situation remained calm. The SMM met with the co-ordinator of the Kuyalnyk sanatorium, run by the Odessa Administration Centre of Social Services. The sanatorium accommodated displaced persons of which 502 are from Crimea and 85 are from eastern Ukraine. He said that in the coming days they were expecting 300 children without parental care from an orphanage to arrive from the Donbas region. According to the co-ordinator, the headquarters of Ukrainian Social Services determined that Odessa could accommodate approximately 13,500 IDPs.

The situation in Kherson, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv remained calm.

In Chernivtsi the situation remained calm. Following up on the information obtained from the regional military commander, the SMM observed at 13:15 around 60 people blocking the main road in the municipality of Mahala in both directions. On one side of the block the queue was at least one kilometre-long. On the other side, in the direction of Chernivtsi, the queue was around 500 metres-long. The protesters were predominantly women - wives and mothers of soldiers. Some expressed their desire to have those deployed in the east back from the front line immediately. The SMM heard complaints about the poor equipment and conditions provided for the transport of the soldiers to the east. One man made a statement against “hungry and Russian-speaking IDPs from the east”. The SMM observed the presence of five members of one ‘Self-Defence’ organization and ‘Sotnya Bukovyny’ (‘the Bukovina Hundred’) who tried to mitigate and prevent a violent escalation.

In Kyiv the SMM monitored a peaceful gathering of approximately 1,000 people in front of Elections Committee building where the Kyiv City Council was in session. The meeting was organised by the ‘Dukhovny Tsentr Vidrodzhennya’ (‘Spiritual Centre Rebirth’). The association prayed for the integrity, peace, unity and prosperity of Ukraine and pledged to provide conditional support to the leadership of President Poroshenko and Mayor Klychko. There were about 10 local police officers who monitored the gathering from a distance while some 30 Maidan security guards were present and were in the centre of the gathering. A group of approximately 15 individuals were standing alongside the gathering with posters calling for an end to corruption and nepotism in Ukraine.

Contacts

Iryna Gudyma

Senior Press Assistant

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine

26 Turgenevska Street

01054 Kyiv

Ukraine

Mobile: +38 067 4021716

Iryna.Gudyma@osce.org

Michael Bociurkiw

Spokesperson

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine

26 Turgenevska Street

01054 Kyiv

Ukraine

Office: +380 44 382 0832

Mobile: +38 067 4083107

michael.bociurkiw@osce.org