Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 1 February 2017

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This report is for the general public and the media.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared to the previous reporting period, but the overall situation remained highly tense. It observed the use of multiple-launch-rocket systems in Horlivka and Kruta Balka. While the majority of violations were again recorded in the wider area of Avdiivka-Yasynuvata, the SMM recorded hundreds of explosions in different areas of the contact line. The SMM and the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) facilitated a local ceasefire allowing repairs to power lines supplying the Donetsk water filtration station and to restore electricity to the town of Avdiivka. The Mission observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines and on the move on both sides of the contact line. The SMM monitored the humanitarian situation in Avdiivka and Yasynuvata, it followed up on reports of civilian casualties and saw damage caused by shelling on both sides of the contact line. The Mission continued monitoring the three disengagement areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske but its access remained restricted.* The Mission monitored the continuing blockade of a railway track near Hirske. In Kyiv the SMM monitored a funeral ceremony for seven Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers reportedly killed in Avdiivka.

The SMM noted a decrease in ceasefire violations recorded in Donetsk region, still including, however, about 5,600 explosions.[1] Many ceasefire violations were again observed in the areas of Avdiivka and Yasynuvata.

During the night of 31 January-1 February, while in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre, the SMM heard 994 undetermined explosions 8-12km north-north-west and 49 undetermined explosions 6-8km north-north-east.

On the night of 31 January-1 February, the SMM camera at the “DPR”-controlled Oktiabr mine (9km north-west of Donetsk) recorded 795 undetermined explosions, 21 explosions assessed as impacts, 21 illumination flares and an exchange of fire including 279 undetermined projectiles in flight (160 south-east to north-west and 119 north-west to south-east), all 4-10km north-east of the camera’s location.

Positioned at the Donetsk central railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard 99 undetermined explosions west-south-west, west, and north-west, and 27 undetermined explosions north and north-east.

Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Makiivka (12km north-east of Donetsk) over about 20 minutes, the SMM heard 35 undetermined explosions 3-6km north and north-west and four explosions assessed as impacts 500m west.

On the evening of 31 January, the SMM camera in Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded three undetermined explosions, one explosion assessed as an impact, six illumination flares and five undetermined projectiles (three from south-east to north-west and two from north-west to south-east), all 4-6km south-east from the camera’s location. The following afternoon, the same camera recorded 17 undetermined explosions 3-5km south-east of the camera’s location.

Positioned in Avdiivka on 1 February, the SMM heard 97 undetermined explosions 3-5km south-south-east and 63 undetermined explosions 5-7km south-west.

Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 1,060 undetermined explosions 2-5km north-west and north-north-west, 202 undetermined explosions 0.5-5km west, and 879 undetermined explosions 2-6km south-south-west, south-west, and west-south-west. The majority of explosions were heard between 07:30-10:15 with the amount reducing towards the afternoon.

Positioned at the Donetsk Water Filtration Station, about 4km west of Yasynuvata, the SMM heard 94 undetermined explosions 2-3km west and south-west and 28 explosions 2-3km south-south-east. Over about 30 minutes, positioned 5.4km south-east of Yasynuvata, the SMM heard 88 undetermined explosions 2-3km west. Positioned 2.6km east of Yasynuvata, the Mission heard 31 undetermined explosions 1-5km west.

Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Kruta Balka (16km north of Donetsk) on 1 February, the SMM heard three undetermined explosions 2-3km north-west, 74 undetermined explosions and two undetermined explosions assessed as rocket-propelled-grenade fire 2-6km south-west, two explosions assessed as impacts of multiple-launch-rocket-system (MLRS; BM-21 Grad, 122mm) salvos 8-9km north-north-west, three explosions assessed as tank rounds1-6km west and south-west, nine explosions assessed as recoilless gun (SPG-9, 73mm) rounds 2-3km west, and 12 explosions assessed as mortar rounds (seven 82mm and five 120mm, two outgoing, two impacts, and eight undetermined) 1-5km south-west, west and north-west.

On 31 January while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard 41 undetermined explosions 10km north-west, 168 undetermined explosions and 117 explosions assessed as mortar rounds (95 impacts and 22 outgoing) 4-15km south-west and south-south-west, 20 explosions assessed as outgoing MLRS rockets 3-5km north-west and 20 explosions assessed as outgoing MLRS (BM-21 Grad) fire 3-5km south-west, and four explosions assessed as outgoing recoilless gun rounds (SPG-9, 73mm) 4-5km south-south-west. On 1 February, the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions, five explosions assessed as recoilless gun (SPG-9) (73mm) rounds, six outgoing rocket-propelled-grenade rounds, and one explosion assessed as an impact of an 82mm mortar round, all 2-4km north-west and south-west.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations than in the previous reporting period, including 280 explosions.

During the night of 31 January-1 February, while in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 100 explosions assessed as mortar and artillery rounds 5-10km north, north-west and 50 explosions assessed as artillery rounds 5-10km north-west of its position.

Positioned in government-controlled Trokhizbenka (32km north-west of Luhansk) on 1 February, the SMM heard 15 explosions assessed as mortar rounds (120mm) 10-15km west.

The SMM continued to follow up on reports of civilian casualties. At a hospital in government-controlled Kurakhove (40km west of Donetsk), a doctor told the SMM that a 55-year-old woman had been admitted at 16:30 on 31 January with shrapnel injuries. The woman told the SMM that she was leaving her house when she suddenly felt pain in her head and had fallen down.

The SMM followed up on a report of a civilian casualty who had allegedly had fingers on both hands amputated as a result of injuries from mishandling explosives. Medical staff at a hospital in “DPR”-controlled Yenakiieve (47km north-east of Donetsk) told the SMM that there was no record of the individual at the hospital.

At the morgue in “DPR”-controlled Makiivka, staff told the SMM that a 77-year-old woman had died from shrapnel wounds to her head and from internal injuries. Staff said she was killed when her apartment was shelled in Makiivka.

The SMM observed shelling damage in residential areas. In government-controlled Trokhizbenka, Ukrainian Armed Forces officers of the JCCC led the SMM to a school, where the Mission observed fresh damage inside and outside the building, including fresh holes on west-facing and south-facing walls inside and outside on the ground floor, one destroyed west-facing window (covered with a wooden plank) and five broken south-facing windows on the same floor. The SMM assessed that the damage was caused by a 120mm mortar round fired from a westerly or south-westerly direction. Elsewhere in Trokhizbenka three residents showed the SMM three impacts in three yards, all of which were 5-10m away from the nearest house. They told the SMM that shelling had taken place on 31 January at about 20:00. The SMM assessed the impacts to have been caused by 82mm mortars.

In “LPR”-controlled Sokilnyky (38km north-west of Luhansk) at a checkpoint the SMM observed four fresh impacts and a 120mm mortar tail-fin protruding from the ground on the side of the road. The SMM assessed the impacts as being caused by 120mm mortar rounds fired from a north-north-westerly direction.

In “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol), a Russian Federation Armed Forces officer of the JCCC led the SMM to a house with collapsed roof and walls. The SMM assessed that the damage was caused by a 120mm mortar shell fired from a westerly direction. In “DPR”-controlled Azov (formerly Dzerzhynske, 25km east-north-east of Mariupol), a Russian Federation Armed Forces officer of the JCCC led the SMM to a fresh impact site, located about 30m from the nearest house. The SMM observed holes and two broken windows on the western wall of the house. The resident of the house told the SMM that shelling had taken place on the evening of 31 January. The SMM assessed that the damage was caused by a 120mm mortar shell fired from a westerly direction. In “DPR”-controlled Uzhivka (formerly Leninske, 24km east-north-east of Mariupol), Russian Federation Armed Forces officers of the JCCC led the SMM to two houses on the same street, which had all the windows broken and holes on the outer walls, facing west. The residents of one of the houses told the SMM that shelling had taken place on the evening of 31 January. The SMM observed an impact 30m away, near a house that appeared to be occupied by “DPR” members, with three military-type trucks parked outside. The SMM assessed the damage to the houses and the impact to have been caused by a 152mm artillery round fired from a westerly direction. The SMM observed an impact site 100m west of the Yasynuvata observation point. The SMM assessed the impact as caused by MLRS (BM-21) fire from a north-westerly direction. According to an armed “DPR” member the impact happened on evening of 31 January.

The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas of 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. The SMM’s access to all three areas remained restricted but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*

During the night of 30-31 January, the SMM camera in Stanytsia Luhanska recorded two shots assessed as small-arms fire (assessed as outside the disengagement area) 330m south-west of the camera, followed by an explosion assessed as the impact of a mortar round 800m south-east of the camera, and one shot of small-arms fire (assessed as inside the disengagement area) 750m south-east of the camera. This was followed by four shots of small-arms fire (all assessed as outside the disengagement area) 130-330m south-west and south-south-west of the camera, and a tracer round in flight from north to south (assessed as outside the disengagement area) 180m south of the camera.

While in Zolote the SMM heard seven shots of small-arms-fire and five undetermined explosions 3-5km south-east of its position (assessed as outside of the disengagement area).

While in Stanytsia Luhanska the SMM heard two undetermined explosions assessed as artillery rounds 15-20km west of its position (assessed as outside of the disengagement area).

The SMM observed that the situation in the Petrivske area was calm.

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 the respective withdrawal lines, in government-controlled areas the SMM observed: two MLRS (BM-21) moving east on the M04 road in Netailove (22km north-west of Donetsk), two MLRS (BM-21) accompanied by a truck with a covered cargo-bay travelling north on the H-20 road 3km south-east of Volnovakha (53km south of Donetsk), four tanks (T-64) parked behind a building in Avdiivka. In non-government-controlled areas the SMM observed: two military-type trucks, each towing an artillery piece of an unknown type, with the barrel covered, heading south towards Makiivka, and a military truck towing an artillery piece moving south near Yasynuvata. Aerial surveillance imagery available to the SMM revealed the presence on 31 January of six towed artillery pieces with their support truck and two tanks near Yasynuvata, and three towed artillery pieces near “DPR”-controlled Yakovlivka (10km north of Donetsk).

Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside assigned areas the SMM saw 31 stationary tanks near government-controlled Zaliznianske (79km north of Donetsk), eight tanks in a field 10km north of Bakhmut , a military truck towing a self-propelled howitzer (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm) heading south 7km north-west of government-controlled Bakhmut (formerly Artemivsk, 67km north of Donetsk), one towed howitzer (2A65/Msta-B, 152mm) on road M03 near Pryvillia (government-controlled, 81km north of Donetsk) moving toward Bakhmut, a military-type truck towing an artillery piece, exiting from the Makiivka train/bus station access road heading east, and three military-type trucks with flatbed trailers transporting three tanks (two T-64, one T-72) in the southern edge of Khartsyzk (“DPR“-controlled, 26km east of Donetsk) moving west.

The SMM observed weapons that could not be verified as withdrawn, as their storage does not comply with the criteria set out in the 16 October 2015 notification. In areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines not controlled by the Government, the SMM observed six MLRS (BM-21), 15 self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), two towed howitzers (D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm), two mortars (PM-38, 120mm) and four anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm). In areas controlled by the government the SMM saw nine self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) and observed that six towed howitzers (D-20, 152mm) continued to be missing, as previously noted.

The SMM revisited a Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage site, whose location corresponded with the relevant withdrawal lines and noted that the site continued to be abandoned, with 18 tanks (seven T-72 and 11 T-64) and two mortars (2B9 Vasilek, 82mm) missing.

Despite the joint statement of 1 February by members of the Trilateral Contact Group the SMM received no information in relation to withdrawal of weapons from the area between Donetsk Airport, Avdiivka and Yasynuvata.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles[2] and combat aircraft in the security zone. In government-controlled areas the SMM saw two helicopters (MI-8) with Ukrainian Armed Forces insignia near Toretsk (formerly Dzerzhynsk, 43km north-west of Donetsk) flying north-west. In non-government-controlled areas the SMM saw one multi-purpose armoured tracked vehicle MTLB near Kadiivka and one minelayer “PMZ-4” in “LPR-controlled Irmino (54km west of Luhansk) towed by a military truck (Ural) with two containers (one open) full of TM-62M anti-tank mines, travelling north-west in the direction of “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk).

South of government-controlled Shchastia bridge (20km north of Luhansk) the SMM observed an “LPR” demining team working 300m south of the northernmost “LPR” position. The SMM was unable to observe the extent of any clearance.

On 31 January, near “LPR”-controlled Komisarivka (18km south-east of Luhansk) the SMM observed 47 military-type covered trucks heading south on the M04 road escorted by “LPR” members. In the morning of 31 January, the SMM saw a convoy of 11 military-type trucks (one Ural, ten Kamaz) heading north-east near “LPR”-controlled Bile (22km south-west of Luhansk). Later, the SMM observed the same convoy heading south-east near “LPR”-controlled Vesela Tarasivka (17km west of Luhansk). In the afternoon of 31 January the SMM observed a convoy of 16 military-type covered transport trucks heading south in Luhansk city.

The SMM monitored the situation of civilians living near the contact line. In order to restore electricity to the Donetsk water filtration station, as well as heating and electricity to the town of Avdiivka, the SMM worked together with Ukrainian and Russian Federation Armed Forces Representatives of the JCCC to facilitate the reestablishment of the ceasefire in the area around the Donetsk water filtration station. At the station, both sides of the JCCC confirmed that an agreement on a local ceasefire had been made and informed the SMM that repair crews had been given the green light to advance toward affected sections of the power lines. The SMM also communicated with a senior “DPR” member via videoconference, encouraging the armed formations in areas not controlled by the Government to support the joint efforts of the SMM and the JCCC. Towards the end of the afternoon the SMM heard the intensity of explosions increase again and the JCCC representatives told the Mission that repair work had been discontinued.

While in Avdiivka the SMM observed a 12kw mobile generator supplying power to the city administration building and lorries carrying humanitarian aid and boxes being distributed at the emergency services tent facility where hundreds of civilians were seen queuing for hot meals and using the warming tents. When the SMM left the city in the late afternoon, it noted that most of the city and the surrounding area were unlit.

The SMM observed that the blockade of a railway track in government-controlled Hirske (63km west of Luhansk) remained unchanged (see SMM Daily Report 27 January 2017.) The railroad tracks were still blocked with wooden barriers and a train was still standing on the tracks.

In Kyiv, the SMM observed a funeral ceremony for seven members of the 72nd Separate Mechanised Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces at Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) who were reportedly killed in Avdiivka on 29 January. The SMM saw around 1,500 people (30-50 years old, 70 per cent male) gathered near the monument, including nearly 200 men in military uniform, and a limited police presence. The SMM saw seven coffins carried toward the monument, where bystanders laid flowers, and heard speakers address the crowd as well as the performance of a religious ceremony.

The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Chernivtsi.

*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, unexploded ordnance (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.

Denial of access:

A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM that no demining activities had taken place during the previous 24 hours in the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area and that, with the exception of the main road, the SMM’s safety could not be guaranteed in the surrounding areas due to the possible presence of mines and/or UXO. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.

An armed “LPR” member told the SMM that no demining activities had taken place during the previous 24 hours in the Zolote disengagement area. Due to the danger of mines the SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.

Due to the lack of security guarantees and possible threat from mines, the SMM could not travel west from “DPR”-controlled Petrivske. The SMM informed the JCCC.

At a checkpoint the road between government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) and Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk) Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel told the SMM that the area is mined. The SMM informed the JCCC.

The SMM could not cross the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) as Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel said there were still mines on the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC.

In “LPR”-controlled Khriashchivka (22km east of Luhansk), the SMM saw anti-tank barricade across the road with signs "mines" on it. The JCCC was informed. Conditional access:

In “DPR”-controlled Dmytrivka (85km east of Donetsk), at a weapons storage site an unarmed guard allowed only two SMM monitors to enter the site. Delay:

An armed “DPR” member stopped the SMM at a checkpoint 2.6km east of Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) and denied onward passage, saying no one was allowed into the city due to ongoing shelling. After 45 minutes the SMM was able to enter Yasynuvata. The SMM heard explosions 1-7km, south and west.

[1] Please see the annexed table for a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations as well as map of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions marked with locations featured in this report.

[2] This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.

Contacts:

Alexandra Taylor
26 Turhenievska Street
01054 Kyiv
Ukraine
mobile: +380 67 650 31 57
alexandra.taylor@osce.org

Mariia Aleksevych
26 Turhenievska Street
01054 Kyiv
Ukraine
office: +380 44 392 0832
mobile: +380 50 381 5192
mobile: +380 93 691 6790
mariia.aleksevych@osce.org