Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 4 May 2015

Situation Report
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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”. The SMM, based on its monitoring – which was restricted by third parties and by security considerations* – observed ongoing fighting in and around Donetsk airport and Shyrokyne. The SMM observed military movement and presence along the contact line.

  • Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions on SMM access and freedom of movement” for further information.

The SMM noted continued fighting in areas in and around the destroyed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk airport (8km north-west of Donetsk) and Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol). Shelling was particularly intense in the latter location in the afternoon and evening of 4 May, with an SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) recording live mortar fire being directed at the village at 21:23hrs, and subsequently two burning houses there. The UAV also noted what was assessed to have been a Ukrainian Armed Forces artillery unit on the southern outskirts of government-controlled Zorya (30km north of Mariupol) at 22:51hrs, firing artillery rounds at “DPR”-controlled Oktyabr (26km north-east of Mariupol). The SMM did not directly witness any violence in the Luhansk region.[1]

Whilst in the “DPR”-controlled village of Savelivka (53km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard more than 20 incoming explosions at a location approximately 2km east of its position. Residents told the SMM that live-fire training exercises by the “DPR” – which they said were an almost daily occurrence – were ongoing.

The SMM observed troop movements and trenching in government-controlled areas to the north-north-east of Donetsk.

In a field 500m north-east of government controlled Novotoshkivske (53km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM observed several fresh impact craters, with a diameter of 300-350cm and a depth of 100-150cm. The SMM assessed that the responsible projectiles had been fired from the “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled villages of Frunze (40km north-west of Luhansk) and Donetskyi (50km north-west of Luhansk).

A resident of “LPR”-controlled Brianka (49km west of Luhansk) told the SMM that the Russian rouble was increasingly replacing the Ukrainian hryvnia in the village.

The SMM re-visited six Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas, observing that the majority of weapons previously recorded were in situ, and that their locations comply with the respective withdrawal lines. At two of the sites, however, a number of 152mm howitzers were missing, one at one site and four at another.

Despite claims that withdrawal of heavy weapons was completed, the SMM observed the following weapons’ movements in areas non-compliant with the withdrawal lines: in government-controlled territory, five tanks, three artillery pieces and one Grad Multiple Launch Rocket System.

At 15.30hrs on 3 May, the SMM observed approximately 15 young men and women vandalising a World War II memorial in Kharkiv city-centre. The perpetrators – some of whom were draped in Ukrainian flags – painted the top of the Eternal Flame monument in yellow and blue, and removed a commemorative plaque using a drill. Five nearby police officers did not intervene.

On 3 May, the SMM observed a Svoboda Party-organized rally in Ivano-Frankivsk. Approximately 1,500 participants – the majority of whom were middle-aged and elderly men and women – protested against price-hikes in public utilities. Overseen by approximately 20 policemen, the two-hour rally passed off peacefully.

The situation remained calm in Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa, Kherson, Chernivtsi, Lviv and Kyiv.

  • Restrictions on SMM access and freedom of movement:

The SMM is restrained in fulfilling its monitoring functions by restrictions imposed by third parties and security considerations including the lack of information on the whereabouts of landmines.

The security situation in Donbas is fluid and unpredictable and the ceasefire does not hold everywhere.

  • While entering and leaving “DPR”-controlled Yasunavata (13km NNE of Donetsk), the SMM was held for 15 minutes at a “DPR” checkpoint as “DPR” members sought instructions by phone from their superiors. The SMM was then allowed to proceed.

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

Michael Bociurkiw
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine
26 Turgenevska Street
01054 Kyiv
Office: +380 44 382 0832
Mobile: +38 067 4083107

Iryna Gudyma
Senior Press Assistant
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine
26 Turgenevska Street
01054 Kyiv
Mobile: +38 067 4021716