Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 2 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 with the previous reporting period, though the overall situation remained tense. Most of the ceasefire violations were recorded in the Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport area. The Mission followed up on reports of casualties and saw damage caused by shelling on both sides of the contact line, including in Avdiivka and Makiivka and observed the evacuation of children from Avdiivka. The SMM and the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) again facilitated a local ceasefire around the Donetsk water filtration station allowing the continuation of repairs to essential infrastructure in the area. The Mission observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines and on the move in populated areas on both sides of the contact line. It continued monitoring the three disengagement areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske but its access remained restricted. The SMM’s freedom of movement was also restricted in other areas, including while travelling towards Yasynuvata.

While the situation along the contact line remained tense the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region compared with the previous reporting period, including more than 4,000 explosions.[1] Most of the explosions were again recorded in the Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport area.

On the evening and night of 1-2 February, while in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre, the SMM heard more than 900 undetermined explosions 2-8km north-north-west and north.

Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Makiivka early in the morning on 2 February the SMM heard 42 explosions in 35 minutes, 3-5km west. Positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard 237 explosions in seven and a half hours: two assessed as impacts 200-300m south, eight assessed as outgoing rounds 1km south, two undetermined 3-4km south-east, and 225 undetermined 1-12km north, north-west, west and south. Positioned in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) for six and a half hours the Mission heard more than 800 explosions 1-5km north, north-east, east-south-east, south-south-west and south-west. Positioned at the Donetsk central railway station the SMM heard 699 undetermined explosions in just over three hours, mainly at points ranging 2-10km north-east to north-west.

Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Kruta Balka (16km north of Donetsk) for about four hours the SMM heard 68 explosions, including: 12 assessed as outgoing artillery rounds, 38 as outgoing mortar rounds, all about 1-3km north-west, north-east, east, south-east and south; and one assessed as the impact of a mortar round about 1km east. Positioned at the Donetsk water filtration station (15km north of Donetsk) the SMM heard 619 undetermined explosions 1-3km south-east.

Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Oleksandrivka (20km south-west of Donetsk) for about 45 minutes, the SMM heard approximately 100 explosions in five minutes 5-10km north and more than 80 undetermined explosions in about 15 minutes 3-10km north.

While in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk) throughout the reporting period the SMM heard 81 explosions 7-10km west-north-west. While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard 137 explosions 2-7km north-east and 4-5km south-east.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations than in the previous reporting period, including about 40 explosions.

Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Zhovte (17km north-west of Luhansk) on the morning of 2 February the SMM heard 20 undetermined explosions 10-15km south-west. Positioned in government-controlled Orikhove-Donetske (44km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM heard one explosion assessed as an outgoing artillery round 300-500m north.

The SMM continued to follow up on reports of civilian casualties. The Head of the Civil-Military Administration in Avdiivka told the SMM that one woman had died during shelling in Avdiivka on the morning of 1 February. A police officer separately told the SMM that a 62-year-old woman had died in Avdiivka from shrapnel wounds. He also said that two civilian men (63 and 68 years old) had been injured in the same area on 1 February. Medical staff at Avdiivka hospital told the SMM that one man had been treated for severe trauma caused by shrapnel wounds.

The SMM observed damage from shelling in residential areas. While passing through the south-eastern part of Avdiivka on 1 February the SMM saw downed power lines and damage from shelling to the roofs, walls and fences of at least six houses. A Ukrainian Armed Forces commander told the SMM that the area had come under rocket fire earlier that morning.

In government-controlled Sartana (15km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM observed large holes in the roof of a farm building and hay burning inside the building. About 100m from the farm the Mission observed a fresh impact site and assessed it as having been caused by a multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) fired from an easterly direction. The SMM saw a compound guarded by Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers about 400m from the farm. Three local farmers (men, 40-60 years old) and a Ukrainian Armed Forces commander told the SMM that the shelling had occurred at about 02:00 on 1 February.

In government-controlled Vrubivka (72km west of Luhansk) the SMM observed three fresh impact sites (located 10-30m from houses). The SMM noted severed power lines, a destroyed fence, broken windows of seven homes, and shrapnel damage to the roof and wall of one of the houses. Two residents told the SMM that the shelling had taken place early in the morning on 1 February.

In government-controlled Troitske (69km west of Luhansk) the SMM observed 12 fresh impact sites. Two of the impacts were inside a medical clinic, a third was approximately 50m and a fourth 150m from the building. A window at the medical clinic was broken. The SMM observed two more impacts on a residential street, 25 and 60m from houses. The Mission noted that the south-western corner of the first house was completely destroyed, the roof and wall of the house had suffered shrapnel damage, and all the windows of the home were broken. The SMM saw two broken windows and shrapnel damage to the wall and roof of a second house. The Mission observed fresh five more impact sites 60-150m off of a road, in a field.

In Novooleksandrivka (65km west of Luhansk) a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer showed the SMM six fresh impact sites near a pedestrian path leading to government-controlled areas. According to the officer, the impacts had occurred during the evening of 31 January.

In “DPR”-controlled Makiivka the SMM observed two fresh impact sites in the north-eastern part of the city. One of the sites was located immediately next to a garage which had sustained minor shrapnel damage. The Mission noted that a nearby power line was severed. Residents told the SMM that the impact had occurred on 31 January. A second impact site was about 10m from an apartment building, next to a building used to store coal. The building’s roof had been destroyed and small impacts were present along the walls of two neighbouring buildings.

In “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM observed two fresh impacts about 20m from a house and assessed one of them as having been caused by a 120mm mortar round fired from an undetermined direction. The SMM observed shrapnel damage to a gate. The owner of the house told the SMM that both she and her husband had been treated for minor shrapnel injuries at a hospital in Novoazovsk. The SMM saw a bandage on the man’s left hand. The Mission observed another house which had been severely damaged by the impact of a round approximately 25m from the house. The SMM noted that one part of the roof had been entirely destroyed and the remaining part was riddled with shrapnel damage. The wall of the house had been nearly completely destroyed by a direct impact. The SMM assessed the impacts as having been caused by 120mm mortar rounds fired from a north-westerly direction. Residents of both of the houses separately told the SMM that the shelling had occurred on 31 January.

Near “LPR”-controlled Kalynove (65km west of Luhansk) an armed man showed the SMM four fresh impact sites in an open field. The SMM was able to assess three of the impacts as caused by 82mm mortar rounds. The “LPR” member told the SMM that the shelling had occurred the previous night and in the morning.

In Molodizhne (63km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM was accompanied by two Russian officers of the JCCC, the “LPR” “spokesperson” and “LPR”-affiliated media while following up on allegations of shelling. At the western edge of the village the SMM observed that the roof of a house had nearly completely collapsed and all of the windows were shattered. The floor of the house was still smouldering from a fire. The SMM observed an “LPR” position located about 70m from the house. According to the JCCC and residents the shelling had taken place in the afternoon of 1 February. At the south-western edge of the settlement, 15m from the road, the SMM observed an 82mm mortar round which appeared to be unexploded.

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.*

Positioned in government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk) the SMM saw about 25 armed Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel in and around two military trucks, one camouflaged minivan and one military jeep within the Zolote disengagement area.

On the night of 31 January to 1 February, the SMM camera in Petrivske recorded ten undetermined explosions 1-3km west-south-west and one undetermined explosion 1-2km south-south-west, all assessed as having occurred inside the disengagement area.

While there, the SMM noted that the situation in the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area was quiet.

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: three tanks (T-64) near Avdiivka, one tank near Orlivka (22km north-west of Donetsk), one MLRS (BM-21) near Karlivka (25km north-west of Donetsk), three self-propelled howitzers (either 2S3 or 2S19) near Umanske (25km north-west of Donetsk). A midrange unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted three tanks near government-controlled Bila Hora (54km north of Donetsk). In areas not controlled by the Government, the SMM saw two towed guns (2B16 Nona-K, 120mm) near Yasynuvata and one surface-to-air missile system (9K35 Strela-10, 120mm) near Zaichenko (26km north-east of Mariupol).

Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside assigned areas controlled by the Government, the SMM saw three towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) near Sloviansk (95km north of Donetsk), three towed howitzers (2A65) near Pryvillia (81km north of Donetsk), two MLRS (BM-27 Uragan, 220mm) near Sviatohirsk (117km north of Donetsk) and three tanks (T-64) near Kramatorsk. A midrange UAV spotted five surface-to-air missile systems (9K33 Osa) near government-controlled Bila Hora.

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 saw an armoured personnel carrier[2] (BRDM-2) in the security zone near Avdiivka.

The SMM monitored the situation of civilians living near the contact line. The SMM again worked together with Ukrainian and Russian Representatives of the JCCC and was able to facilitate the reestablishment of a localized ceasefire in the area around the Donetsk water filtration station to allow for repairs to essential infrastructure. The Mission monitored as a group of about forty workers (30 men, ten women) travelled to the Donetsk water filtration station. The Ukrainian and Russian representatives of the JCCC told the workers that they would assist in ensuring that the ceasefire held with their presence. The area was quiet through the late morning and early afternoon and the workers were allowed to conduct repairs without interruption. In the early afternoon the workers restored partial water supply to hundreds of thousands of people in Donetsk region.

Work on electricity lines in the area however did not proceed. A manager of an electrical company told the SMM by phone that due to ongoing shelling and a lack of co-ordination between the sides the repair team had left the area.

On the evening of 1 February the SMM observed as a local non-governmental organization was in the process of evacuating about 12 children from Avdiivka.

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

*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 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 unexploded ordnance (UXO). The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.

  • Armed “LPR” members told the SMM that that they could not guarantee the safety of the Mission in fields and side roads of the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.

  • Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel stopped the SMM from travelling between government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk) and government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) and told the Mission that permission from their headquarters was required to pass. The SMM 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.

  • The SMM could not cross the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) as Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel said that no demining activity had taken place in the area. The SMM informed the JCCC.

  • A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer denied the SMM access to a weapons holding area for the tenth consecutive time. The SMM informed the JCCC.

  • Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel stopped the SMM from travelling south through government-controlled Donske (47km north of Mariupol).

Delay:

  • Armed “DPR” members stopped the SMM at a checkpoint near Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) and denied onward passage, citing orders not to allow the SMM to enter the town. The SMM was able to enter Yasynuvata accompanied by a senior “DPR” member after a two hour delay.

  • Armed “DPR” members stopped the SMM and a JCCC officer at a checkpoint near “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-west of Donetsk). The patrol was allowed to proceed on towards Yasynuvata after 35 minutes.

[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.

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

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

Contacts

Alexandra Taylor
Head of Press and Public Information Unit
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine
26 Turhenievska Street
01054 Kyiv
Ukraine
Mobile: +380 67 650 31 57
alexandra.taylor@osce.org
smm-media@osce.org

Mariia Aleksevych
Senior Press Assistant
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine
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
smm-media@osce.org