Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 9 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, and facilitated dialogue strengthening the ceasefire. The Mission followed up on reports of shelling on both sides of the contact line, and assessed impact sites in Stanytsia Luhanska, Toshkivka, and Peredilske as caused by fire from multiple-launch-rocket systems. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske but its access remained restricted.* The SMM noted ceasefire violations inside the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area and observed the presence of Ukrainian soldiers and armed men in the Zolote disengagement area. The Mission saw 23 armoured vehicles in areas of Luhansk region outside government control and visited three border areas currently not under government control. The SMM’s freedom of movement was restricted, including by armed men as it was following the tracks of heavy vehicles near Kalynove.*

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region, including about 300 explosions and 150 projectiles in flight, compared with the previous reporting period.[1] Over half of the explosions and most of the projectiles were observed in the Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport area.

The SMM camera at Oktiabr mine (“DPR-controlled, 9km NW of Donetsk) recorded about 32 undetermined explosions on the evening and night of 8 February, all 6-10km north-east. During this time the camera recorded two exchanges, the first beginning with 12 projectiles in flight from south-south-west to north-north-east 2-4km east and followed, cumulatively, by one projectile in flight from north-north-east to south-south-west, five projectiles from east to west and one from west to east, 6-8km north-east. During the second exchange the camera first recorded 20 projectiles in flight from east to west followed, cumulatively, by 59 projectiles in flight from east to west and 55 projectiles in flight from west to east. The SMM heard three undetermined explosions after midnight 8-10km north-east.

While in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city on the evening and night of 8-9 February the SMM heard more than 100 undetermined explosions 8-10km north-north-west, 28 of which were recorded after midnight on 9 February.

Positioned near government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north-west of Donetsk) and “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about five hours on 9 February the SMM heard a total of 13 undetermined explosions and 27 bursts of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire. In government-controlled Soledar (79km north of Donetsk) the SMM facilitated dialogue between the Ukrainian and Russian representatives of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) to strengthen the ceasefire.

While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) on the evening of 8 February the Mission heard 17 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds and 14 explosions assessed as impacts of artillery rounds 5-7km south-south-east, and about 130 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 2-3km south-south-east. Early the next morning the SMM heard 30 undetermined explosions 4-5km south-south-east and 85 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 2-3km south-south-east. Later in the morning the SMM heard one explosion assessed as an outgoing artillery round 0.5-1km from its forward patrol base. While in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk) on the evening of 8 February and during the next day the Mission heard 32 undetermined explosions, mainly 4-10km north-west.

Positioned in government-controlled Kurdiumivka (54km north of Donetsk), shortly after noon on 9 February the SMM heard five undetermined explosions assessed as artillery rounds 5km north-west and, about one hour later, two undetermined explosions 10km north-east.

The SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded 14 undetermined explosions at unknown distances north on the evening and night of 8 February. After midnight the camera recorded two undetermined explosions at unknown distances north. Shortly before midnight, while in government-controlled Mariupol (102km south of Donetsk), the Mission heard 20 undetermined explosions at an unknown distance east.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded a fewer ceasefire violations compared with the previous 24-hour period, including 114 explosions.

On the evening of 8 February the SMM heard explosions in three different areas of Luhansk region. While in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 37 undetermined explosions 10-12km west-south-west. While in government-controlled Sievierodonetsk (74km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM heard 20 undetermined explosions 15-20km south-south-east. While in “LPR”-controlled Luhansk city the SMM heard four explosions assessed as outgoing multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS; BM-21 Grad, 122mm) rounds and four explosions assessed as impacts of artillery rounds, all 12km north-east.

On 9 February the Mission continued to hear explosions in different parts of Luhansk region. Positioned in government-controlled Staryi Aidar (20km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 17 undetermined explosions 7-10km south-west. Positioned in government-controlled Nyzhnie (56km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 15 undetermined explosions 15-20km west-south-west. Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Sentianivka (formerly Frunze, 44km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard two explosions assessed as impacts of 120mm mortar rounds, the first 2km north-north-east and the second, about an hour later, 4km south-east.

The SMM continued to follow up on reports of civilian casualties. While following up on three reported civilian casualties in “DPR”-controlled Makiivka (12km north-east of Donetsk), medical personnel told the SMM that they were under instructions that any inquiries regarding casualties should be sent to the “DPR” “ministry of health”. In Donetsk city’s Kyivskyi district the SMM spoke with a man in his fifties who had a cut over his left eyebrow. He told the SMM that the injury had occurred during shelling on the evening of 2 February.

The SMM observed shelling damage on both sides of the contact line. The SMM returned to government-controlled Kurdiumivka (54km north of Donetsk) where the day before family members had reported the death of a 16-year-old boy on 6 February due to shelling. (See SMM Daily Report 8 February.) The Mission observed 24 impact sites within 50m of houses which it assessed as caused by 122mm artillery rounds fired from a south-easterly direction. The SMM assessed one additional impact site as caused by a 122mm artillery round fired from the north-west. The impact sites were about 200m from a water pumping substation and about 500m from high voltage electricity lines. A checkpoint is located about 100m west of the pumping station. The SMM observed shrapnel damage to the window frames and fences of three houses as well as to the chimney and roof of one of the houses. Another house had suffered a direct hit to the roof which partially destroyed the bathroom and kitchen.

In government-controlled Malynove (19km north-east of Luhansk) the SMM observed two fresh impacts on a gravel road, about 50m from the nearest house which was being used by Ukrainian soldiers. The Mission assessed the impacts as having been caused by MLRS rockets (BM-21) fired from a south-easterly direction. Ukrainian Armed Forces showed the SMM two additional impact sites. One was about 40m from a house which had two broken windows. The SMM assessed that the impact had been caused by an MLRS rocket (BM-21) fired from a south-easterly direction. The soldiers told the SMM that the shelling had taken place on the evening of 8 February. A fourth impact was located in a forested area further away from the house. The Mission saw that two houses, one located 35m and one about 100m from the impact sites, were being used by Ukrainian soldiers.

The SMM observed two fresh impact sites in a field near government-controlled Toshkivka (60km north-west of Luhansk). The SMM assessed the impacts as caused by MLRS rockets (BM-21) fired from a south-easterly direction. The SMM noted severed electricity lines 25m from one of the impact sites. A Ukrainian officer of the JCCC told the Mission that the shelling had taken place earlier that morning.

After the JCCC facilitated adherence to the ceasefire in the area, the SMM visited government-controlled Vodiane (19km north-east of Mariupol), led by Ukrainian officers of the JCCC, for the first time since 22 June 2016. The SMM met nine residents in the village (seven men and two women, 35-85 years old) who said that 13 residents from seven households were left in the village. They also said that there was no electricity in the village. The Mission observed widespread damage to houses, ranging from shrapnel damage to the walls of buildings to the remains of houses almost completely destroyed and saw severed electricity lines.

In “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM, accompanied by Russian officers of the JCCC, observed 12 fresh impact sites 4-50m from houses. The SMM assessed seven of the impacts as caused by artillery rounds fired from a south-westerly direction and two as caused by artillery rounds fired from an unknown direction. The Mission noted broken windows and shrapnel damage to the walls and roofs of at least five houses, part of one wall had been completely destroyed and the door of one of the houses had been completely blown off of its hinges. It saw the results of a direct impact to the south-western side of a brick barn which had completely destroyed two of its walls, and other direct hits which had completely destroyed a shed and left most of the roofs of two houses destroyed. The SMM felt a strong smell of gas in the air and the owner of the house said that a pipeline damaged by the shelling had leaked gas overnight but had since been repaired. A group of residents said that shelling had taken place on the night of 8-9 February. Upon the SMM’s arrival in the village a two-man crew from a “DPR”-affiliated television channel also arrived in the village and filmed the Mission throughout its stay in the village.

In Sentianivka the SMM observed an unexploded 82mm mortar round embedded about one metre off the side of a road. The SMM assessed that the impact site was fresh and noted that a checkpoint and fortified positions were located about 250m away.

In “LPR”-controlled Donetskyi (49km west of Luhansk) the Mission observed three fresh impact sites located 3-8m from houses. The SMM assessed one of the impacts as having been caused by a round fired from a north-easterly direction, and two holes on the north-facing wall of a house as caused by bullets fired from the north-west and north-east. The SMM observed shrapnel damage to three windows, the fence and the wall of a garage of one house and shrapnel damage to the wall of a second house. The owner of one of the damaged houses told the SMM that the shelling had taken place shortly before midnight on 7 February.

The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas of Stanytsia Luhanska, 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 7 February the SMM camera in government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska recorded seven explosions assessed as mortar round impacts about 900m south of the camera’s location, near a Ukrainian Armed Forces forward position north of the bridge, within the disengagement area.

Inside the Zolote disengagement area, in violation of the Framework Decision, the SMM observed two Ukrainian soldiers carrying assault rifles (AK-74) in government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk). The SMM also saw two armed men unloading a grenade launcher from a military-type truck at an “LPR” checkpoint inside the disengagement area. In areas south of the disengagement area not controlled by the Government, the Mission observed new positions and armed men cutting down a large tree.

The SMM noted a calm situation while present in the Petrivske 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 withdrawal lines the SMM observed, in government-controlled areas, three towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 155mm) near Lysychansk (75km north-west of Luhansk) and two towed howitzers (2A36) near Verkhnokamianka (84km north-west of Luhansk). In areas not controlled by the Government the Mission observed two stationary tanks (T-72) near Kalynove.

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 22 MLRS (BM-21) and 18 towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm). Fourteen MLRS (BM-21) were missing, including one for the first time.

The SMM revisited a permanent storage site in government-controlled areas, whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines, and noted that four mortars (2B9 Vasilek, 82mm) and 12 tanks (T-72) continued to be missing.

Despite the joint statement of 1 February by 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, anti-aircraft guns[2] and a helicopter in the security zone. In areas not controlled by the Government the SMM observed three infantry fighting vehicles (IFV; BMP-1) and new trenches south of Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, new trenches and four IFVs (BMP-1) near Luhansk city’s Zhovtnevyi district, two IFVs (BMP-1) and a command and control vehicle near Lyman (12km north-west of Luhansk), one APC (MTLB) near Sentianivka (44km west of Luhansk), three armoured personnel carriers (APC, MTLB) near Donetskyi (49km west of Luhansk), one IFV (BMP-2) and a previously unknown position (about 100m from a civilian house) near Kalynove (60km west of Luhansk), and ten APCs (MTLB) near Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk), two of which were mounted with anti-aircraft guns.

In government-controlled areas the SMM saw one APC (BTR-80) near Andriivka (61km south of Donetsk), one anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) and one IFV (BMP-1) near Zolote (outside the disengagement area), and a helicopter (MI-8) near Kurakhove (40km west of Donetsk).

On 8 February, in government-controlled Peredilske (24km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM assessed a previously observed (see SMM Daily Report 20 January) unexploded rocket to be an MLRS rocket (BM-30 Smerch, 300mm) likely dating to the beginning of the current armed conflict. The unexploded ordnance was about 60m from the nearest house and about 20m from a gas pipeline. The site was not marked or fenced off.

The SMM recovered its mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which had been lost near government-controlled Chernenko (86km south of Donetsk) on 8 February (see SMM Daily Report 8 February), assessed as due to GPS signal jamming. The Mission found the UAV about 2km south-west of the point where the SMM lost control over it and did not note any signs of external physical damage.

The SMM asked the JCCC for an update on its co-ordination of mine clearance along several roads with a view to removing long-standing restrictions to the freedom of movement of SMM monitors and other civilians (See SMM Daily Report 19 January). The JCCC gave no updates on demining.

The SMM visited three border areas currently not under government control. The SMM noted a calm situation while present at the Marynivka (78km east of Donetsk) border crossing point for about 20 minutes and at the Ulianivske (61km south-east of Donetsk) border crossing point for about ten minutes. While present at the Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk) border crossing point the SMM noted four commercial trucks (Ukrainian license plates) with covered cargo areas exiting Ukraine.

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 UXO. The SMM informed the JCCC.

“LPR” members did not provide the SMM with security guarantees for fields and side roads in the Zolote disengagement area. Due to the possible presence of mines and UXO the SMM did not proceed and informed the JCCC.

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.

Anti-tank obstacles on the road and the presence of a mine hazard sign prevented the SMM from travelling between government-controlled Katerynivka and Popasna. 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.

The SMM could not travel across the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia as Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel said there were mines on the road south of the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC. On the edge of “LPR”-controlled Kalynove the SMM attempted to follow tracks of heavy vehicles across a railroad line. The SMM was stopped by three armed men (20-25 years old) who were joined by five more armed men after the SMM requested to speak to their superior. The “commander” told the SMM that they should immediately turn around because they were 20m from a mine field. The Mission informed the JCCC.

Conditional access:

The SMM was only allowed to pass through a checkpoint not controlled by the Government near Olenivka (23km south-west of Donetsk) after an armed man had searched the inside of the OSCE’s vehicles. The man cited orders not to allow the SMM to pass without its vehicles being searched. The Mission informed the JCCC.

Delay:

Armed men delayed the SMM for 20 minutes at a checkpoint not controlled by the Government in Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk).

[1] Please see [the annexed table]9http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/299146) 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