Ukraine

Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 16 October 2015

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This report is for the media and general public.

The SMM monitored the implementation of the “Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements”, including the Addendum. Its monitoring was restricted by the parties and security considerations*. The SMM received written declarations related to the withdrawal of mortars in Luhansk region by the sides.

The SMM observed a generally calm situation in most areas of Donetsk region. At the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation post at Donetsk railway station (“Donetsk People’s Republic”(“DPR”)-controlled, 6km north-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard eight explosions approximately 10-15km south of its position, which, according to the JCCC officers, originated from a training area[1] At the eastern outskirts of Berdianske (government-controlled, 102km south of Donetsk, 20km east of Mariupol), near a Ukrainian Armed Forces position, the SMM heard sporadic small arms fire east of its position.

In Kominternove (88km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed around 50 people (men and women of different ages), gathered near a shop, where they said they expected the arrival of a humanitarian convoy. A man in his late fifties told the SMM that they were expecting the distribution of food supplies and construction materials by an international humanitarian organisation. On departure, the SMM saw an international humanitarian organisation convoy consisting of two light vehicles and one truck travelling in the direction of Kominternove.

In Hranitne (government-controlled, 63km south-east of Donetsk), several residents approached the SMM to report that some of them had not been allowed to cross the makeshift footbridge connecting pieces of the destroyed bridge over the Kalmius river between Hranitne and government-controlled Staromarivka (63km south of Donetsk). According to the head of the village council and two Ukrainian Armed Forces JCCC officers in Hranitne, a group of 52 people employed in Telmanove (“DPR”-controlled, 67km south-east of Donetsk) had been allowed to cross the footbridge on a daily basis until about one week ago, when the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Hranitne stopped allowing anyone except Staromarivka residents to cross the bridge (see SMM Daily Report 13 October 2015). The head of the village council further noted that the closest official crossing points in government-controlled Volnovakha (35km south-west of Donetsk) and government-controlled Hnutove (90km south of Donetsk) are far away.

In the area of the Government checkpoint in the vicinity of Novotroitske (government-controlled, 36km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed about 300 civilian vehicles waiting in line to cross in each direction.

At the Uspenka international border crossing point (“DPR”-controlled, 73km south-east of Donetsk) between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, the SMM saw 99 civilian vehicles in line to cross into the Russian Federation. Passengers in the front of the queue told the SMM that they had been waiting for over nine hours. While the SMM was present, traffic from the Russian Federation side appeared orderly, but no vehicles crossed into the Russian Federation.

In Luhansk region, the SMM observed a relatively calm situation. While stationary on a road in the vicinity of “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled Uspenka (23km south-west from Luhansk) training area the SMM heard 50 explosions assessed as tank fire at another training areas near “LPR”-controlled Kruhlyk (31km south-west of Luhansk).

In government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) the Ukrainian Armed Forces JCCC officers informed the SMM that the bridge is ready to be opened for pedestrian traffic. However, the presence of at least four unexploded 82mm mortars stuck in the asphalt road leading to the bridge remains a security concern. The Ukrainian Armed Forces JCCC personnel stated that they were not able to remove the unexploded ordnance (UXO) because of its proximity to the contact line.

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repair works on power lines between “LPR”-controlled Vesela Hora (16km north of Luhansk) and “LPR”-controlled Raivka (16km north-west of Luhansk), which were damaged during the conflict (see SMM Daily Report 11 October 2015). The electricity company’s workers were accompanied by an "LPR" demining team, which inspected the area for mines and UXO.

The SMM observed a convoy escorted by “traffic police”, travelling from “LPR”-controlled Sverdlovsk (61km south-east of Luhansk) to “LPR”-controlled Krasnodon (43km south-east of Luhansk). The convoy consisted of 11 trucks (with Russian Federation license plates) and the SMM observed that three were loaded with building material, whereas the other eight were covered.

In government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM observed about 230 people (men and women, approximately 50-70 years old) gathered outside the cultural centre. The SMM was informed by five women that they were waiting for humanitarian aid. The interlocutors had been informed by local officials that there was enough aid for 500 people and said that the first delivery on Monday had benefited 100 people. The interlocutors stated that the aid consisted of food supplies and was only handed out to pensioners who received a pension of less than 1334 Ukrainian Hryvnia per month.

The SMM revisited eight Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas, whose locations corresponded with respective withdrawal lines. At all locations, the weapons previously registered by the SMM, were present. At three of those locations the SMM registered the serial numbers of additional weapons.

The SMM revisited two “DPR” heavy weapons holding areas, whose locations corresponded with respective withdrawal lines. At the first location, two previously registered multiple launch rocket systems (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) were absent. At the second location, one previously registered self-propelled howitzer (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) was absent.

In violation of respective withdrawal lines, the SMM unmanned aerial vehicle observed in the “DPR”-controlled area of Petrivske (77km north-east of Mariupol), two self-propelled howitzers (2S1, Gvozdika, 122mm). Likewise, at the outskirts of “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed five main battle tanks (MBTs, T-64) and a military-type truck heading north-west. One of the tanks was flying a "DPR" flag.

Additionally, but not in violation of respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed six MBTs (three of them T-72), 13 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs, six BMP-2, seven BMP-1), one multi-purpose light armoured towing vehicle and at least eight military-type trucks at a “DPR” “training range” near Ternove (“DPR”-controlled, 57km east of Donetsk).

The SMM received written declarations related to the withdrawal of mortars of calibre up to and including 120mm, under Stage 1 envisaged in the Addendum to the Package of measures, from both the Ukrainian Armed Forces and “LPR” members.

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

*Restrictions to SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to 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. Armed individuals continue to prevent the SMM from monitoring most areas close to the international border with the Russian Federation in parts of Luhansk region not controlled by the Government.

Denied access:

In the area of the “DPR” “training range” near Ternove (“DPR”-controlled, 57km east of Donetsk), two “DPR” members approached and instructed the SMM to leave the area citing security concerns. An armed “LPR border guard" denied the SMM access to the Chervonopartyzansk - Gukovo crossing point at the international Ukraine-Russian Federation border. The SMM continued to observe the border crossing point from a distance and departed after an hour.

[1] For a complete breakdown of incidents, 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 fulfilment of its mandate”

Contacts

Michael Bociurkiw
Spokesperson
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine
26 Turhenievska Street
01054 Kyiv
Ukraine
Office: +380 44 382 0832
Mobile: +38 067 4083107
michael.bociurkiw@osce.org

Iryna Gudyma
Senior Press Assistant
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine
26 Turhenievska Street
01054 Kyiv
Ukraine
Mobile: +38 067 4021716
Iryna.Gudyma@osce.org