Ukraine

Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 11 February 2016

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The SMM observed numerous ceasefire violations in Donetsk region. In Luhansk region the two ceasefire violations observed were attributed to training exercises. The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons. The Mission facilitated and monitored demining and repair works on both sides of the contact line. The SMM encountered freedom-of-movement restrictions. It observed the presence of mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) and noted long queues of civilians at checkpoints along the line of contact. The Mission followed up on the situation of de-mobilized ATO veterans.

The SMM observed ceasefire violations in Donetsk region[1]. In the Horlivka area, the SMM recorded a number of ceasefire violations. In the course of the afternoon and the night of 10-11 February, between 16:42 and 3:20hrs[2], the SMM recorded seven undetermined explosions, 12-14 heavy-machine-gun bursts and two or three explosions from an automatic grenade launcher 5-6km to the south-south-east of government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk). On 10 February, the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions, assessed as 82mm mortars, approximately 6km to the west between 23:20 and 23:25hrs while positioned in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk). Over the course of one hour, on the evening of 11 February, the SMM registered 72 undetermined mortar explosions 6km to the west of the same position.

Positioned at the Donetsk railway station (“DPR”-controlled, 6km north-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 8km to the north-west at 12:50hrs. In the early afternoon of 11 February, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 3-5km south-west of government-controlled Memryk (33km north-west of Donetsk), followed by two undetermined explosions 3-5km to the north-west. In the evening hours of 11 February, the SMM heard 12 outgoing rockets of multiple-launch rockets system (BM-21_ Grad_, 122mm) fired 7-10km to the south-south-east from Donetsk city centre.

In areas around Mariupol the SMM noted several ceasefire violations. While positioned in government-controlled Berdianske (18km east of Mariupol) in the morning of 11 February, the SMM heard ten undetermined explosions (likely 120mm mortar) approximately 7km to the north, in the direction of Kominternove. Shortly before noon, in government-controlled Pervomaiske (23km north-west of Mariupol), the SMM heard three single bursts of machine-gun fire from the east at an undetermined distance, followed approximately ten minutes later by an undetermined explosion to the east at an undetermined distance. Approximately 30 minutes later, in government-controlled Topolyne (19km north-west of Mariupol), the SMM heard nine undetermined explosions to the east at an undetermined distance.

Farther to the north, in government-controlled Hranitne (47km north of Mariupol), the SMM heard several bursts of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire from the east between 12:30 and 12:46hrs.

In Luhansk region, the SMM heard 24 explosions in the morning of 11 February, four likely originating from training areas near government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk) and 20 from the direction of "LPR" Shymshinivka training range (27km south-west of Luhansk).  

The SMM continued to monitor the implementation of the Addendum to the Package of measures.The SMM revisited Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage sites whose locations correspond with the withdrawal lines and noted that one of the sites was abandoned and 19 tanks (T-64) and three mortars (2B9M, 82mm) were no longer present. At another site, one T-64 was recorded for the first time. A deputy battalion commander at one site also told the SMM that tanks were loaded with ammunition and designated as in reserve for the battalion. The SMM observed one tank under repair outside the site and 125mm anti-tank ammunition stored inside the site.

The SMM revisited an “LPR” permanent storage site and found all weapons previously verified as withdrawn to the site present.

Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside storage sites, the SMM observed a tank (T-64) near government-controlled Memryk (33km north-west of Donetsk). The SMM also observed seven tanks (T-64) in a static position at a shooting range in “LPR”-controlled Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk).

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of heavy weapons as foreseen in the Minsk Package of measures. The SMM has yet to receive the full information requested in the 16 October 2015 notification. The SMM revisited locations known to the SMM as heavy weapons holding areas, even though they do not comply with the specific criteria set out for permanent storage sites in the 16 October 2015 notification.

In government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM revisited such locations and observed: 12 towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, _152mm), 12 self-propelled howitzers (2S3 _Akatsiya, 152mm), 39 anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) and 27 Addendum-regulated tanks (T-64). Four previously recorded tanks were missing. At one site, Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel prevented the SMM from recording the serial numbers of the 27 aforementioned tanks.*

The SMM observed the presence of other hardware. Approximately 14km north of government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk), the SMM observed an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) heading south. In the "LPR"-controlled part of Zolote (60km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM observed two stationary trucks: one vehicle carrying armed personnel and the other a twin-barrelled anti-aircraft auto-cannon (ZU-23).

The SMM continued to observe the presence of mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO). In “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM noted again the presence of an MLRS rocket (BM-27 Uragan, 220) 60m from school No. 6 (see SMM Daily Report 7 February 2016). The SMM also noted an Uragan rocket in the playground of a kindergarten approximately 300m from the school. The SMM assessed that the UXO had been there for a long time and had been launched from a north-north-easterly direction.

Near government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM again noted eight wired-anti-tank mines protected by cement barriers near the first Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint on the north side of H15 (see SMM Daily Report 8 February 2016_)_.

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to critical infrastructure, namely repair work on a gas pipeline near government-controlled Marinka. The SMM did not observe any ceasefire violations while monitoring the work in the town and from neighbouring “DPR”-controlled Oleksandrivka (20km south-west of Donetsk). The SMM facilitated adherence to the ceasefire for repair work at the Karbonit water supply plant in government and “LPR”-controlled parts of Zolote; as well as for repair work on a water pipeline in “LPR”-controlled Krasnyi Lyman (30km north-west of Luhansk) and near government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk).

The SMM observed a freight train passing through "LPR"-controlled Rovenky (55km south-east of Luhansk). The train consisted of 55 wagons, the last five of which were filled with coal. The train was heading in the direction of “LPR”-controlled Antratsyt (51km south-west of Luhansk) and was coming from the direction of the Dolzhanskyi (84km south-east of Luhansk) border crossing.

At checkpoints along the line of contact, the SMM observed a queue of 410 civilian cars and minibuses in the morning and 258 civilian vehicles later in the afternoon, waiting to travel west at a government-controlled checkpoint near Marinka. The SMM also observed 344 civilian cars and minibuses waiting at the checkpoint to travel east in the morning as well as 245 civilian cars in the afternoon. Approximately 150 pedestrians were also waiting to travel in both directions through a checkpoint in Marinka. The SMM observed approximately 40 people crossing to “LPR”-controlled area over the bridge at Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk).

At meetings from 9-11 February in Lviv, Chernivtsi and Kherson regions, interlocutors described the challenges faced by de-mobilized veterans. The head of a non-governmental organization (NGO) told the SMM that in Lviv city approximately 2,000 requests for housing and land plots had been made by Anti-Terror Operation (ATO) participants. Nineteen had been fulfilled at the time of the meeting, he said. The SMM spoke with a representative of the Lviv city administration who confirmed this information. In Tukhyla village (125km south-west of Lviv city), the head of the village council told the SMM that no land plots had been allocated to 16 de-mobilized soldiers from the village. In Khotyn (50km east of Chernivtsi city), the representative of an NGO explained that 34 veterans in the district had received land plots and 120 were still on a waiting list. The interlocutor said there was a lack of employment opportunities for veterans and that families were trying to find a psychologist dedicated to the needs of demobilized ATO veterans. The head of the Centre for Assistance to ATO Participants under the Kherson Regional Administration told the SMM that there was a lack of capacity to provide psychological assistance for some of the approximately 2,700 de-mobilized soldiers in Kherson region. She said the lack of employment opportunities in the region often left veterans with few options but to return to the military.

The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Odessa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, and Kyiv.

  Restrictions to SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to the fulfilment of its mandate

The SMM is restrained in fulfilling its monitoring functions by restrictions imposed by the parties and security considerations, including mine threats, damaged infrastructure, and the unpredictability of the situation in Donbas. “LPR” members continue to prevent the SMM from monitoring many areas alongside the border in parts of Luhansk region not controlled by the Government.

Denial of access:

  • “DPR” members staffing a checkpoint did not allow the SMM to enter “DPR”-controlled Petrivske (63km north-east of Mariupol).

  • In “LPR”-controlled Kalynove (58km west of Luhansk) two armed “LPR” members denied the SMM access to the part of the town west of the river.

  • Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel close to government-controlled Troytske (69km west of Luhansk) prevented the SMM from moving closer to the contact line.
  • At a heavy weapons holding area in government-controlled area, Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel did not allow the SMM to record the serial numbers of weaponry.

[1] For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.

  • Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions to SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to the fulfilment of its mandate”.

[2] All times in this report refer to Eastern European Time. 

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Contacts:

Iuliia Poberezhna
26 Turhenievska Street
01054 Kyiv
Ukraine
mobile: +380 67 467 75 65
iuliia.poberezhna@osce.org

Iryna Gudyma 
26 Turhenievska Street
01054 Kyiv
Ukraine
mobile: +38 067 4021716
Iryna.Gudyma@osce.org