Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 3 February 2017

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KYIV 4 February 2017

This report is for the general public and the media.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and more in Luhansk region compared with the previous reporting period as the situation remained volatile. The Mission confirmed reports of casualties, including fatalities, and observed damage caused by shelling in residential areas of Avdiivka, Donetsk city, Sartana and Chernenko. The SMM and the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) facilitated adherence to the ceasefire around the Donetsk water filtration station to allow the continuation of repairs to essential infrastructure in the area. The Mission observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines and on the move on both sides of the contact line. It continued monitoring in two of the three disengagement areas in Stanytsia Luhanska and Zolote but its access remained restricted.* A shot was fired near an SMM patrol near Kalynove. The Mission visited one border area currently not under government control.

While the situation along the contact line remained volatile, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region, including around 3,300 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period.[1] Most of the ceasefire violations were recorded in the wider Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport area.

While in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre on the night of 2-3 February the SMM heard about 800 undetermined explosions, 658 of which were 10-15km north, north-north-east and north-north-west, with the remainder 5-10km west-north-west.

On 2-3 February the SMM camera at Oktiabr mine (9km north-west of Donetsk city centre) recorded 153 undetermined explosions, and three undetermined projectiles in flight from south-east to north-west 6-10km north-east.

While in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk) on the night of 2 February the SMM heard 35 undetermined explosions, 11 explosions assessed as impacts of artillery rounds (152mm), four explosions assessed as outgoing mortar rounds (82mm), 26 explosions of which ten were assessed as impacts and 16 as outgoing artillery rounds, bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, and small-arms fire, all 3-16km south-west, west-south-west and south.

While in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk) on the night of 2 February the SMM heard about 180 undetermined explosions, 144 of which were 7-10km west-north-west and 36 were 3-5km west-north-west. On 3 February the SMM heard 238 undetermined explosions, seven explosions assessed as outgoing recoilless gun (SPG-9, 73mm) rounds and small-arms fire, 2-12 km west, north-west, north and east-north-east.

While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) on the same night, the SMM heard 224 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds, 31 explosions assessed as impacts of artillery rounds, 66 explosions assessed as impacts of mortar rounds, 61 undetermined explosions, and bursts of heavy-machine gun fire, 2-7km north-east and 2-3km south-east.

Positioned in Yasynuvata (“DPR”-controlled, 16km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 45 undetermined explosions and bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 3-4km south-west. Later, stationary on the eastern edge of Yasynuvata, the SMM heard 148 undetermined explosions, 13 explosions assessed as impacts and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 3-12km north, north-west and west.

Positioned at the Donetsk water filtration station (15km north of Donetsk) on the early morning of 3 February the SMM heard about 315 undetermined explosions and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 1-2km south-west, followed by 20 undetermined explosions and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 0.5-2km south-west, and over 100 undetermined explosions 3-5km south-west.

Positioned east of government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) near the Donetsk water filtration station the SMM heard 441 undetermined explosions, bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire all 0.5-5km south-east and south-west of its position. At the same location, the SMM heard 25 undetermined explosions and saw five airbursts of unknown weapon rounds 2-4km south-east of its location. Positioned in Avdiivka in the afternoon, the SMM heard 43 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds (122mm) and one undetermined explosion, 3-5km south and south-east.

On 3 February the SMM camera at Oktiabr mine recorded 57 undetermined explosions, 13 undetermined projectiles in flight from south-east to north-west, three undetermined projectiles in flight from north-west to south-east and three airbursts 3-10km west-north-west and north-east.

Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Kruta Balka (16km north of Donetsk) the SMM heard eight explosions assessed as artillery (122mm) rounds, ten outgoing explosions assessed as tank rounds, three explosions assessed as outgoing rounds, eight assessed as impacts and 46 explosions assessed as mortar (82mm) rounds, 21 explosions assessed as outgoing recoilless gun (SPG-9) fire, 11 explosions assessed as outgoing infantry fighting vehicle (IFV; BMP-1) cannon (73mm) fire, nine shots and two bursts of IFV (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) fire, five explosions of rocket-propelled grenades, five explosions assessed as impacts, 19 undetermined explosions, bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, one undetermined explosion of automatic grenade launcher round, 1-4km west, south-west, south, south-east and east. Later, the SMM heard bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, two explosions assessed as impacts of mortar (82mm), seven explosions assessed as outgoing IFV (BMP-1) cannon fire, six shots of IFV (BMP-2) cannon fire and eight explosions assessed as impacts 4-6km east, south, south-south-east and south-west.

Positioned in government-controlled Kamianka (20km north of Donetsk) the SMM heard 163 undetermined explosions, 22 explosions assessed as impacts of mortar (120mm) rounds, one explosion assessed as an artillery round impact, 60 shots of IFV (BMP-2) cannon fire, four shots of automatic-grenade-launcher fire, and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 3-7km east, south-east and south.

Positioned in government-controlled Sopyne (16km east of Mariupol), the SMM heard six undetermined explosions 4-5km north-north-east, four undetermined explosions 7km north-north-west, six undetermined explosions 5km north-north-west, as well as one undetermined explosion 7km north-north-east. Later, the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 3km east, 14 undetermined explosions and bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 4-8km north-north-east.

Positioned in government-controlled Vidrodzhennia (66km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 75 explosions assessed as outgoing rounds, 40 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery (122mm) rounds, and seven explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds 2-5km south, south-south-east and north-north-east.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations compared with the previous reporting period, including over 560 explosions.

While in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard 400 explosions (both impacts and outgoing) assessed as artillery fire 10km south-south-west. Positioned approximately 10km south-west of government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard 21 explosions assessed as impacts of artillery fire 10-15km south-south-west.

While on the south-western edge of “LPR”-controlled Kalynove-Borshchuvate (61km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions, four undetermined explosions assessed as IFV (BMP-2) cannon fire and heavy-machine-gun and small-arms-fire 4km south-west. A short time later, while in Kalynove-Borshchuvate, the SMM heard 64 undetermined explosions assessed as multiple-launch-rocket-systems (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) fire 20km west-south-west.

Positioned in government-controlled Kalynove-Popasna (75km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard 55 undetermined explosions assessed as artillery 10-15km south and south-west.

The SMM followed up reports of casualties and observed several impact sites in residential areas of Donetsk region. The SMM confirmed the deaths of several civilians, and injury to a number of civilians, in Avdiivka and in Donetsk city following shelling. The SMM saw also damage to residential buildings in government-controlled Avdiivka and parts of “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city. In the Kalininskyi district of Donetsk city, the SMM observed a fresh impact site, a destroyed shop and damage to nearby residential buildings. (See SMM Spot Report: Casualties, damage to civilian infrastructure registered in Donetsk region following fighting, 3 February 2017.)

Following up on reports on those injured in the shelling of Kalininskyi district of Donetsk city, the SMM spoke to some of the injured at Donetsk Trauma Hospital. One woman (61 years old) had shrapnel wounds to both wrists and her left shoulder. She told the SMM that her son-in-law had been injured, but that after receiving treatment, had been released. The SMM saw a woman (42 years old) who was recovering from an operation for wounds to her eyes. Medical staff said that a boy (born 2010) was treated for a laceration but had been released.

The SMM followed up on reports of civilian casualties following alleged shelling in Donetsk city on 1 February. At the Donetsk traumatology centre, medical staff told the SMM that an ambulance carrying a patient had been struck with shrapnel, injuring three staff and the patient. He added that two of the staff (a woman aged 52 and a man aged 47) had been discharged after receiving treatment for shrapnel wounds and that the patient and the ambulance driver remained in hospital.

The SMM, accompanied by a Ukrainian officer of the JCCC, observed four fresh impact sites in a field between government-controlled Vidrodzhennia and Roty (64km north-east of Donetsk), assessed as caused by artillery rounds (122mm). The SMM could not determine the direction of fire. In Vidrodzhennia, the SMM saw a fresh impact site, assessed as caused by an artillery (122mm) shell next to a house on Novaia Street, in which the SMM saw Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel. An armoured tracked vehicle (MTLB) with a large antenna was parked outside. Four houses on Novaia Street had sustained light damage. The Ukrainian officer of the JCCC told the SMM that three Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel had been injured and transported to hospital. On Polevaia Street in Roty village, the SMM saw a fresh impact site that had damaged a nearby animal shed, that was assessed to have been caused by an artillery round (122mm). Residents said the shelling happened at around 22:00 on 2 February.

In government-controlled Chernenko (21km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM observed impact sites in a residential area that residents said had been shelled on 31 January. The damage observed was consistent with shelling in recent days. The SMM observed an impact site in the garden of a house and saw shattered windows and shrapnel damage to the walls of a house nearby. The SMM assessed that the damage was caused by a mortar round (82mm) but could not determine the direction of fire. At a second location, the SMM saw damage to the roof of a house.

In government-controlled Sartana (15km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM, accompanied by a Ukrainian officer of the JCCC, observed seven fresh impact sites. Several residents said the shells had stuck around 05:00 of 3 February and no civilians had been injured. The SMM observed impact sites next to houses, damage to the walls of houses and broken windows. Two impacts were observed in a farm complex. The roof of a barn in the complex had been destroyed and scorch marks were visible. The SMM observed a Ukrainian Armed Forces position in the area. At some of the impact sites the SMM found shrapnel from an MLRS (BM-21). The SMM assessed that the impact sites were caused by MLRS (BM-21) fired from an east-north-easterly direction.

At the Ukrainian Armed Forces side of the Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk) entry-exit checkpoint the SMM saw three fresh impact sites, which soldiers said had happened during shelling on the night of 2 February. The SMM observed that a round had struck the identity document check point, destroying it.

Ukrainian officers of the JCCC showed the SMM impact sites in government-controlled Krymske (44km north-west of Luhansk) that they said had happened on the night of 1 February. The SMM saw at least 12 fresh impact sites in fields (about 700m from a residential area), which the SMM could not approach due to security concerns. The SMM saw one fresh impact site around 30m from the main road which it assessed to have been the result of an artillery round (152mm). The direction of fire could not be determined. A Ukrainian officer of the JCCC led the SMM to two impact sites in government-controlled Toshkivka (60km north-west of Luhansk). The SMM saw a fresh impact site in a field close to a road that contained shrapnel that the SMM assessed was part of an MLRS (BM-21) rocket, but could not assess the direction of fire. A second fresh impact site was further into the field which the SMM could not reach due to security concerns.

At an “LPR” position near Kalynove (60km west of Luhansk) an armed man pointed an automatic rifle (AK-type) in the direction of the SMM. Shortly after, the SMM heard a gunshot and left the area. (See SMM Spot Report: Shot fired close to SMM near Kalynove, 3 February 2017.)

Earlier in Kalynove the SMM had seen about 12 armed “LPR” members and traces of tracked vehicle movements. The SMM observed unusual behavior among the “LPR” members in Kalynove, including them trying to hide from the SMM while continuing to watch from a distance. Near “LPR”-controlled Kalynove the SMM saw a Ural truck carrying 12-18 armed men dressed in white camouflage fatigues driving away from the centre of the town.

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.*

On the night of 1 February, the SMM camera in Petrivske recorded five undetermined explosions 2-4km west-south-west (assessed as inside of the disengagement area).

On 2 February, the SMM camera in government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) recorded one shot of small-arms fire 150m south of the camera, assessed as outside of the disengagement area).

On 3 February, positioned in a government-controlled part of Zolote (60km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM heard 11 shots of small-arms fire 1km south-south-east (assessed as outside of the disengagement area).

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 the SMM observed the following in government-controlled areas: two self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) in a field near Vidrodzhennia; three self-propelled howitzers (2S1) heading east from Pokrovske (74km north of Donetsk), three towed howitzers (D-20, 152mm) being towed north-west near Novoaidar (49km north-west of Luhansk); five military trucks and two towed howitzers moving west near Kalynove (31km north-west of Donetsk); four tanks (T-64) in Avdiivka.

Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside storage areas the SMM observed the following in government-controlled areas: four self-propelled howitzers (2S5 Giatsint-S, 152mm) being towed by as many trucks heading north near Borovenky (77km north-west of Luhansk); approximately 30 tanks north-west of government-controlled Paraskoviivka (75km north of Donetsk); three tanks (T-72) on trucks moving south-west of Kramatorsk (83km north of Donetsk)

Despite the joint statement of 1 February of the Trilateral Contact Group calling for, amongst other things, the withdrawal by 5 February 2017 into permanent storage sites of all weapons regulated by Minsk agreements, 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 and anti-aircraft weapons[2] in the security zone. In government-controlled areas the SMM observed: seven IFVs (BMP) in trenches at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint south of Popasna; two Cougar vehicles, one with a mounted 12.7mm gun, driving north-west near Hirske (63km west of Luhansk); an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23-2, 23mm) at a checkpoint near Hirske; four IFVs (BMP-2): one moving, three stationary at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint east of Novotoshkivske (53km north-west of Luhansk); one stationary armoured personnel carrier (APC; BRDM-2) at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint in Vrubivka (72km west of Luhansk); and an APC (BTR-70) stationary near Kurakhove (40km west of Donetsk).

In areas not under government-control the SMM observed: two armoured tracked vehicles (MTLB) in Donetsk city; an IFV (BMP-1) parked next to an “LPR” position near Kalynove and an IFV (BMP-1) being towed by a Ural truck in the town.

The SMM saw one bus carrying 20 men in military-type clothing moving from Yasynuvata to Vasylivka (20km north of Donetsk), before returning empty a few minutes later.

The SMM continued to facilitate attempts to repair essential infrastructure in Avdiivka, in co-ordination with the JCCC. In the early morning the SMM arrived at the Donetsk water filtration station along with Voda Donbasa staff and a team of repair workers to continue a second consecutive day of repairs to the electrical substation. In the morning, the SMM heard hundreds of explosions and small-arms fire, and sporadic explosions over the remainder of the day. During the course of the day, the substation repairs were completed. The station must now be reconnected to a power line. However, the repair team tasked with fixing the power line in government-controlled Kamianka could not reach the damaged lines, citing safety concerns following shelling in the area.

The SMM visited one border area currently not under control of the Government. At the border crossing point in Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk) the SMM observed, over a period of 70 minutes, 39 cars (34 with Ukrainian, five with Russian licence plates), one covered truck (Moldovan licence plate) and one bus (Ukrainian licence plates, indicating Kirovsk-Moscow route) queued to exit Ukraine. Nine cars (six with Ukrainian, three with Russian licence plates), one bus (Ukrainian licence plates, indicating Moscow-Luhansk route), and three covered trucks (two Russian, one Belarusian licence plate) entered Ukraine. The SMM saw 66 pedestrians exit Ukraine, and 55 enter.

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:

  • 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 (58km west of Luhansk) 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 told the SMM that no demining had taken place on the side roads inside the Zolote disengagement area and that they could not guarantee the SMM’s security due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.
  • 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.
  • Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel stopped the SMM at a checkpoint near government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) and denied further travel towards government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk). A wooden barrier blocked the road. The SMM informed the JCCC.
  • Anti-tank obstacles on the road prevented the SMM from travelling between government-controlled Katerynivka and government-controlled Popasna. The SMM informed the JCCC.
  • The SMM could not travel across the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) as Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel said there were mines on the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC.
  • Ukrainian Armed Forces denied the SMM access to a military compound located near Zatyshne (64km south-west of Donetsk). The SMM informed the JCCC.
  • Armed “LPR” members denied the SMM access to part of “LPR”-controlled Zhovte (17km north-west of Luhansk) as the SMM attempted to follow tracks assessed as left by an IFV (BMP) or armoured tracked vehicle (MTLB).
  • Guards at a site near “LPR”-controlled Khrustalnyi (formerly Krasnyi Luch, 56km south-west of Luhansk) did not grant the SMM access. The SMM informed the JCCC.
  • In “LPR”-controlled Kalynove an armed man pointed a gun in the direction of the SMM. Shortly after, the SMM heard a gunshot and left the area. The SMM informed the JCCC.

[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