Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 5 February 2017

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This report is for the general public and the media.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region between the evenings of 3 and 4 February compared with the previous reporting period, followed by an increase over the next 24 hours. The Mission recorded a consecutive decrease in ceasefire violations in Luhansk region compared with the previous reporting period between the evenings of 3 and 4 February and during the following 24 hours. The Mission continued to confirm reports of civilian casualties and observed damage caused by shelling in residential areas of Avdiivka, Donetsk city, and other settlements on both sides of the contact line. The SMM and the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) facilitated adherence to the ceasefire around the Donetsk water filtration station which allowed for a partial re-connection of the electricity supply to Avdiivka. The Mission observed weapons in violation on both sides of the contact line, particularly in areas not controlled by the Government around Donetsk city. The Mission continued monitoring in the disengagement areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, Petrivske and Zolote but its access remained restricted. It noted ceasefire violations within the disengagement areas in Stanytsia Luhanska and Petrivske. The Mission visited three border areas currently not under government control.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region between the evenings of 3 and 4 February, including more than 800 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period. [1] In the following 24 hours, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations than between the evenings of 3 and 4 February, including about 1,200 explosions. The majority of the explosions were recorded in the Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport area.

On the evening and night of 3 February the SMM camera at “DPR”-controlled Oktiabr mine (9km north-west of Donetsk) recorded 177 undetermined explosions, 59 projectiles in flight from easterly to westerly directions, five projectiles in flight from westerly to easterly directions, and one projectile in flight from south to north, all 4-10km north-east of the camera. Over the course of the day on 5 February the camera recorded 97 undetermined explosions 6-10km north-east. Intermittent fire in the afternoon began with one projectile in flight from north to south followed by one from south to north, and continued with 107 indirect projectiles in flight (16 from south to north and 91 from south-east to north-west), all 6-10km north-east of the camera.

On 4 February, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Kruta Balka (16km north of Donetsk) for about seven hours, the Mission heard 54 explosions: 33 undetermined 2-9km north, south-south-east and west; seven assessed as outgoing tank rounds 4-6km south-south-east and south-west; two assessed as outgoing mortar rounds 3-4km south; nine assessed as impacts 3-6km south-south-east, south-west and west; and three assessed as impacts of mortar rounds 4-9km south-south-east. Positioned at the eastern edge of “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for eight hours the SMM heard 71 undetermined explosions 2-7km south-west and west. Positioned at the Donetsk water filtration station (16km north of Donetsk) for over eight hours the SMM heard 162 undetermined explosions 1-4km south-west.

On 5 February, positioned at the eastern edge of Yasynuvata for about seven hours, the SMM heard 248 undetermined explosions at points ranging from 4-10km north-west to south and 115 explosions assessed as outgoing tank rounds and their impacts 4-6km west-south-west. Positioned 2.5km north-east of Kruta Balka for just over five hours the SMM heard frequent small-arms fire and 249 explosions, including: 59 assessed as 82 and 120mm mortar rounds and 21 as tank rounds, all 5km south-west; 62 assessed as 82 and 120mm mortar round impacts 5-6km south-east, south-west and north-north-west; eight as outgoing 82mm mortar rounds 4-6km south-east and south and three assessed as outgoing 152mm artillery rounds 7-8km east. Positioned in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard 45 undetermined explosions 5km south-south-west.

Aerial imagery revealed the presence of thousands of new (since at least 28 January) craters in the area around Avdiivka and Yasynuvata. The highest concentration of impacts was focused in an area stretching about 2-3km from around Butovka mine towards the industrial zone, west of highway M-04. Aerial imagery of the area around the industrial zone on 28 January revealed a snow covered landscape. Footage from 1 February of the same area shows large portions of the landscape completely blackened by impacts. High concentrations of impacts were also recorded: in the industrial zone and along the eastern, south-eastern, southern and south-western edge of Avdiivka; from Butovka mine towards “DPR”-controlled Spartak (9km north of Donetsk), Yakovlivka (10km north of Donetsk) and Mineralne (10km north-east of Donetsk); from the industrial zone towards the Donetsk water filtration station; and around Kruta Balka. One concentration of new impact sites was present in a residential area within Avdiivka and another just west of Avdiivka. Aerial imagery from 1 February also showed a concentration of new impact sites around Donetsk airport.

On the evening and night of 3-4 February the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded 12 rocket-assisted projectiles in flight from west to east at unknown distances north-east. More than three hours later the same camera recorded 62 rocket-assisted projectiles being launched south-east to north-west from two launchers, assessed as multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), 4-6km north-east. This was followed by small-arms fire and 17 undetermined explosions at unknown distances north-east.

In the afternoon of 5 February, positioned 2km east of government-controlled Orlivske (23km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM heard 64 undetermined explosions at unknown distances and 4-8km south-east, and saw and heard 12 explosions assessed as impacts of artillery or mortar rounds 4-5km south-east.

While in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard 128 undetermined explosions 7-9km west, west-north-west and north-west on the evening and night of 3 February. While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east) on 3 and 4 February the Mission heard 36 explosions assessed as outgoing rounds, including 28 as outgoing artillery rounds, all 2-7km north, north-east and south-south-east; three impacts of artillery rounds 2-3km south-south-east and 13 undetermined explosions 4-7km north-north-west.

While in Debaltseve on 5 February the SMM heard 120 undetermined explosions 7-9km west-north-west. While in Svitlodarsk later in the day the SMM heard 41 undetermined explosions 5-7km south-east.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations between the evenings of 3 and 4 February, including more than 150 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period. The number of ceasefire violations recorded by the SMM decreased again over the next 24 hours, including 21 explosions.

On the evening of 3 February, while in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 95 undetermined explosions and eight explosions assessed as outgoing MLRS (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) rockets, all 10-15km west. Positioned 2km north of “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard 18 explosions assessed as mortar round impacts 5km south-west, outside the disengagement area.

Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Kalynove-Borshchuvate (61km west of Luhansk) for half an hour on 4 February the SMM heard ten explosions assessed as outgoing mortar rounds 3km south-south-west and four explosions assessed as mortar round impacts 4km south-south-east.

Positioned 4km south of “LPR”-controlled Slovianoserbsk (28km north-west of Luhansk) on 5 February the SMM heard 11 undetermined explosions 8-10km west.

On 4 February the SMM observed the aftermath of a car bomb explosion in Luhansk city (see SMM Spot Report) in which reportedly a senior “LPR” member had died. At the morgue in Luhansk city staff confirmed to the SMM that his remains were there.

The SMM followed up reports of casualties and observed impact sites in residential areas.

The SMM continued to follow up on the results of a large explosion in Kalininskyi district of Donetsk city (see SMM Spot Report). On 4 February the SMM met with six internally displaced persons (IDPs) who had been accommodated in a new collective centre in Budonivskyi district of Donetsk city, after the collective centre on Elevatorna Street had been damaged in the blast on the evening of 2 February. Almost all of them seemed to be in shock and some of them said they had strong headaches and nausea. A 30-year-old man who had a bandage around his head seemed to be suffering from a concussion. He told the SMM that three of his children were being treated at a nearby hospital. At the hospital the SMM saw the man’s wife and her three sons. Medical staff said that the six-month-old baby had contracted pneumonia after spending four hours in an unheated bomb shelter after the explosion, while one of the older brothers (ten years old) was suffering from vomiting, dizziness and headache. They added that the children’s father had also been treated for a wound to his head. Medical personnel told the SMM that four adults had been treated for glass fragmentation wounds before being released on 2 February and four children had been released under out-patient observation. According to hospital records, all eight civilians were residents of an apartment building located about 30m from the impact site.

At the apartment block, where the SMM saw considerable damage, including the internal wall of an apartment blown down and all windows in the building broken, a resident told the SMM that 20 apartments were no longer in liveable condition. She added that there were no utilities available in the five remaining apartments. On Dekhtiarova Street the Mission saw a house with a partially collapsed roof, broken windows and damage to the walls. The SMM spoke with a 33-year old female inhabitant who told the SMM that she was expecting to give birth to her third child soon and did not have the means to rebuild the house.

The SMM spoke separately with 11 residents who all agreed that there was one explosion that night and that they had not noted any outgoing fire from the immediate area that night. One of the residents told the SMM that there had been outgoing artillery fire about 3km from the impact site from 31 January to 2 February. Aerial imagery had recorded the presence of MLRS at this location on 31 January (see below). Several other residents in the area of the impact site referred to the presence of armed formations in the area. Military-type vehicles were spotted by an SMM mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at a compound about 260m south-east of the impact site on 3 February (see SMM Spot Report).

On 4 February the SMM observed five fresh impact sites in Avdiivka. On Nechaeva Street the SMM saw that two rounds had struck the roof of a building. The Mission assessed that the impacts were caused by mortar rounds. On Soborna Street the SMM noted a hole nearly 2m in diameter in the south-west facing wall of the third and fourth floor stairwell of a seven-storey apartment building which it assessed as caused by a 120mm mortar round fired from a south-westerly direction. The SMM assessed the impacts as fresh. Several residents told the SMM that the shelling had taken place at about 21:30 on 3 February. At a school on Molodizhna Street the SMM observed a fresh crater about 25m from the main building. Parked 10m away was an ambulance, which according to Ukrainian JCCC officers had been driven by the 25-year-old man who had died from shrapnel wounds on 3 February (see SMM Spot Report). Several of the windows of the school building were broken. The Mission assessed the impact as caused by a 120mm mortar round fired from a south-westerly direction.

On 4 February in government-controlled Sartana (15km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM observed 13 fresh impact sites and assessed them as having been caused by MLRS (BM-21) rockets fired from easterly and east-north-easterly directions. The SMM saw craters in the garden of a house, on an asphalt road, in front of a house, and in a cemetery, as well as damage to the roof of a shed, the façade of a garage, fence and door of a house, power lines, the roof of a barn, a tractor, and broken windows on a number of houses. Several interlocutors told the SMM that the village had been shelled between 23:05 and 23:30 on 3 February, adding that shortly before the shelling they had heard and seen outgoing fire from north of the village.

On 4 February in “DPR”-controlled Sakhanka (24km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM observed a fresh impact site in the backyard of a community building, and assessed it as having been caused by a 122mm artillery round fired from a westerly direction. Five to seven metres from the impact site, the Mission saw five empty cases of 152mm artillery rounds and tracks consistent with a self-propelled howitzer (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm).

On 4 February in “DPR”-controlled Boikivske (formerly Telmanove, 67km south-east of Donetsk) the SMM observed a hole in the north-western side of the roof of a barn and an impact in the north-eastern corner of the building that had severed a concrete pole and partially destroyed the walls of the barn. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by a 122mm artillery round fired from a westerly direction. Russian officers of the JCCC and “DPR” members told the SMM that the shelling had occurred after midnight on 3 February.

On 4 February about 6km north-west of government-controlled Trudivske (47km south of Donetsk) the SMM observed four fresh impact sites in a field. The SMM assessed that the impacts were caused by 122mm or 152mm rounds fired from a north-north-easterly direction.

On 4 February in “DPR”-controlled Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk) the SMM observed four craters which had already been filled in (three on roads and one in a yard) in residential areas and shattered windows of several houses. At the other site the SMM saw a hole in the south-facing wall of the first floor of an apartment building and shattered windows of surrounding buildings. A Russian officer of the JCCC told the SMM that shelling had occurred on the night of 3 February.

On 4 February the Mission saw two fresh impact sites about 10-15m from a house in government-controlled Troitske (69km west of Luhansk). The SMM assessed both impacts as caused by 82mm mortar rounds. A third round had left holes in the roof.

On 4 February in “LPR”-controlled Molodizhne (63km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM observed two fresh impact sites. The first was located about 15m from an “LPR” position and the second impact was on a trench. The Mission also saw the tail of a recoilless gun (SPG-9, 73mm) round in the middle of the road at a T-junction. Additional impact sites were visible in a wooded area. Armed men in Molodizhne and a man in Novooleksandrivka (65km west of Luhansk) separately told the SMM that the shelling had taken place earlier that morning.

On 4 February near government-controlled Novozvanivka (70km west of Luhansk) the SMM observed eight fresh impact sites, one 10m from the road and seven 150-200m off of the road in a field.

On 2 February in “LPR”-controlled Donetskyi (49km west of Luhansk) the SMM observed a large hole in the north-facing door of a garage. The SMM observed smaller holes caused by shrapnel in the door and in a wall inside the garage. A second round had impacted about 2m from the garage. The Mission assessed the second impact as having been caused by a 40mm automatic-grenade-launcher round fired at a steep angle. About 5m from the garage the SMM saw a concrete electricity pole which had been struck by a projectile on its north-west-facing side. Residents told the SMM that the shelling had occurred on the 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.*

On the evening and night of 2 February the SMM camera in Petrivske recorded 13 undetermined explosions 2-4km south-west and west-south-west, assessed as inside the disengagement area. On 5 February, an SMM mini UAV recorded more than 70 fresh impact sites on a field, the majority of them within the Petrivske disengagement area.

On 4 February the SMM observed a fresh 30cm hole in a tyre on the south-facing wall of the southernmost Ukrainian Armed Forces position (located within the disengagement area) near the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge. The SMM also saw the tail of a recoilless gun round (SPG-9) stuck in another tyre.

The SMM noted a calm situation while present at the Zolote disengagement area.

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons, in implementation of the Package of Measures and its Addendum and the Memorandum.

In violation of the respective withdrawal lines the SMM observed in areas not under government control the Mission observed: one tank (T-64) heading south in Vasylivka (24km north-east of Donetsk) on 4 February and two tanks (T-64) heading north-east in Vasylivka (20km north of Donetsk) on 5 February. Aerial imagery available to SMM from 3 February spotted three self-propelled howitzers and four towed howitzers near Makiivka (12km north-east of Donetsk). Aerial imagery available to SMM recorded on 1 February revealed the presence of three towed howitzers near Yakovlivka and seven towed howitzers and two self-propelled howitzers near Yasynuvata. Eight of the ten towed howitzers and both of the self-propelled howitzers were in firing positions oriented toward the industrial zone. Of the last two towed howitzers one was oriented towards the north-west and one was travelling. Aerial imagery, also available to SMM from 31 January revealed two MLRS (BM-21) and scorch marks at two distinct locations indicating firing positions in the south-west of Makiivka. The MLRS were travelling east on a road with their launcher tubes elevated.

In government-controlled areas the SMM observed in violation: three MLRS (BM-21) heading north in Sukha Balka (36km north of Donetsk) on 4 February and one stationary surface-to-air missile system (9K35 Strela-10, 120mm) in Lebedynske (16km north-east of Mariupol) on 5 February.

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 government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed: 18 MLRS (BM-27 Uragan, 220mm), six anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100 mm), and 14 tanks (T-64). The SMM observed that the following weapons continued to be missing: 11 MLRS (BM-27), 22 anti-tank guns (MT-12) and 28 tanks (T-64).

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles [2] in the security zone. In government-controlled areas the SMM observed: two infantry fighting vehicles (IFV; BMP-1) near Stanytsia Luhanska on 4 February, two APCs each loaded on a flatbed truck heading south near Mariupol on 5 February, three stationary armoured personnel carriers (APC; MTLB) near Staryi Aidar (20km north-west of Luhansk) both on 4 and 5 February.

In areas not under government control the SMM observed: one APC (BRDM-2) heading south-west near Donetsk central railway station (“DPR”-controlled, 6km north-west of Donetsk city centre), one APC (MTLB) near Molodizhne and one IFV (BMP-2) near Burchak-Mykhailivka (14km east of Luhansk), all on 4 February.

Near “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk the SMM observed tracks from a truck and two holes in the ground, consistent with the firing position of a towed howitzer. The Mission also observed that the snow in the surrounding area was blackened. The location was 300-400m from a power station. Near “LPR”-controlled Krynychne (45km west of Luhansk) the SMM observed tracks in a field consistent with a military vehicle turning in place and observed burn marks on the ground.

On 4 and 5 February the SMM observed a military-type vehicle digging a new trench near “LPR”-controlled Svitle (11km north of Luhansk).

In “LPR”-controlled Sokilnyky (38km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM noted that a possible unexploded ordnance, first noted on 1 February (see SMM Daily Report 2 February), located 80m from a residential area had not been removed. The SMM saw two directional anti-personnel mines (one MON-50 and one MON-100 or 200) along the H-20 road west of Kruta Balka.

Despite the joint statement of 1 February of the Trilateral Contact Group the SMM received no information in relation to the withdrawal of weapons from the area between Donetsk airport, Avdiivka and Yasynuvata. Meanwhile, **with the support of the SMM, the JCCC contributed to localized cessation of fire, and so facilitated humanitarian efforts aimed at restoration of water, electricity and heating supplies, including through repair of infrastructure in Avdiivka.*** On the morning of 4 February the SMM arrived at the Donetsk water filtration station along with a team of repair workers for the latter to continue a third consecutive day of repairs to essential utility services, with SMM facilitation. A team from the State Service for Emergency Situations conducted demining work on the site of an electricity pylon but was soon interrupted by small-arms fire, causing the workers to abandon the site. On the same day, in Avdiivka, the Ukrainian representative of the JCCC told the SMM that the local population and critical infrastructure, such as the hospital, were still without electricity and water, while the water heating system was operational. The SMM observed bottled water being distributed by humanitarian aid organizations at a stadium in Avdiivka on 4 February. In the afternoon of 5 February, after four hours of intense work by repair crews, three power lines were repaired and, according to the Ukrainian representative of the JCCC and a representative of the civil-military administration in Avdiivka, electricity was restored to about 20,000 residents in Avdiivka as well as to the Avdiivka coke plant.

In response to an incident on 3 February near Kalynove (see SMM Spot Report), the SMM received a letter from a Russian officer of the JCCC on 4 February confirming that an “LPR” member had pointed his weapon at an SMM patrol and fired a warning shot in the air. The latter described the incident as an isolated case. On 4 February “LPR” members in Kalynove gave a similar explanation.

The SMM visited three border areas currently not under the control of the Government. On 4 February while present at the border crossing point near Sievernyi (50km south-east of Luhansk) for nearly one hour the SMM observed 23 cars queuing to exit Ukraine, one of which had an “LPR” plate. On 5 February at the border crossing point near Novoborovytsi (79km south of Luhansk) the SMM saw three pedestrians (two women and one man, all aged between 20 and 25) enter Ukraine during its one-hour observation period. At the pedestrian border crossing point near Verkhnoharasymivka (57km south-east of Luhansk) the SMM noted a calm situation while present for just over one hour.

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:

  • Both on 4 and 5 February 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.

  • Both on 4 and 5 February 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.

  • Both on 4 and 5 February the SMM was unable to travel west from “DPR”-controlled Petrivske due to the lack of security guarantees and possible threat from mines. The SMM informed the JCCC.

  • Both on 4 and 5 February the SMM could not proceed eastward on the road to Viktorivka (42km south-west of Donetsk) from government-controlled Bohdanivka (41km south-west of Donetsk) as Ukrainian officers of the JCCC said that they could not assist in ensuring the security of the SMM as they did not control the road. Mines were visible on the road.

  • Anti-tank obstacles on the road and the presence of a mine hazard sign prevented the SMM from travelling between government-controlled Katerynivka and government-controlled Popasna both on 4 and 5 February. Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel told the Mission that the area had not been demined and that further permission from their headquarters would be required for the SMM to pass. The SMM informed the JCCC.

  • Both on 4 and 5 February 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.

  • On 4 February at a “DPR” checkpoint in Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk) armed men did not allow the SMM to proceed further north after the SMM declined to open the trunks of its vehicles. The SMM decided to leave the area but was told by the armed men not to move until “permission” had been granted from their “superior”. After about 30 minutes the SMM was allowed to leave the checkpoint. The SMM informed the JCCC.

Conditional access:

  • On 4 and 5 February an armed “DPR” member escorted the SMM while it retrieved video data from the SMM camera in Petrivske. 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.

[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