Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 12 February 2017

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This report is for the general public and the media.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations – including, however, more explosions – in Donetsk region between the evenings of 10 and 11 February compared with the previous reporting period. The number of ceasefire violations recorded was higher between the evenings of 11 and 12 February, but included fewer explosions. In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations – including, however, fewer explosions – between the evenings of 10 and 11 February compared with the previous reporting period. The number of ceasefire violations between the evenings of 11 and 12 February was similar compared with the previous 24 hours. The Mission followed up on a report of civilian casualties in Avdiivka. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske but its access remained restricted.* Its freedom of movement was further restricted, in particular in areas not controlled by the Government, including in an incident in which warning shots were fired near the SMM in Pikuzy.* The Mission observed a considerable number of weapons in violation of withdrawal lines, weapons beyond withdrawal lines but outside storage sites, and armoured combat vehicles in the security zone, particularly in areas of Luhansk region not controlled by the Government. The Mission observed the blockade of a railway crossing near Petrivka, and noted that the blockade of a railway track in Hirske continued. It visited two border areas currently not under government control.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region between the evenings of 10 and 11 February compared with the previous reporting period (including, however, 330 explosions compared with 180), and more between the evenings of 11 and 12 February (including, however, about 160 explosions). Despite the joint statement of 1 February by the Trilateral Contact Group, the SMM did not receive the information requested in relation to withdrawal of weapons from the area between Donetsk airport, Avdiivka and Yasynuvata.

While in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city on the evening of 10 February the SMM saw and heard 19 tracer rounds in flight from east to west, 2-3km south-south-west. On the night of 10-11 February, in the same location, the SMM heard 132 undetermined explosions 4-12km north-west.

On the evening of 11 February, the SMM camera at the “DPR-controlled Oktiabr mine (9km north-west of Donetsk city centre) recorded two projectiles in flight from west to east, followed by a total of seven undetermined explosions and three projectiles in flight (two from west to east and one from east to west), all 6-9km north-east of the camera. On the evening of 12 February, the same camera recorded two projectiles in flight from west to east, followed by one illumination flare in vertical flight, all 2-4km north-north-east.

During the day on 11 February, positioned in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) for about five hours, the SMM heard 125 undetermined explosions, as well as periods of intense heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 1-3km east-south-east. On 12 February, positioned at the same location for over five hours, the SMM heard two explosions assessed as impacts of rounds of an undetermined weapon, 19 undetermined explosions, and 39 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 2-4km south-east.

On 12 February, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about six hours, the SMM heard 13 undetermined explosions 2-6km at directions ranging from west to north-north-east and one burst of heavy-machine-gun fire 3-4km north-north-west.

The same day, positioned in Debaltseve (“DPR”-controlled, 58km north-east of Donetsk) for about three hours during the day, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 5-8km north-west and over 100 shots and bursts of small-arms fire 1-8km at northerly directions. While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) for almost ten hours, the SMM heard nine explosions assessed as outgoing mortar rounds (six 120mm and three of unknown calibre), 34 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds (unknown calibre), three explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of undetermined weapons, and seven bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 3-5km north-north-east and north-east.

Positioned in government-controlled Krasnohorivka (21km west of Donetsk) on 12 February, the SMM heard 15 undetermined explosions, as well as heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 2-4km east.

On the night of 10-11 February, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded two rocket-assisted projectiles in flight from west to east, followed by a total of six undetermined explosions, one explosion assessed as an outgoing round of an undetermined weapon, two rocket-assisted projectiles in flight from west to east, and almost 240 tracer rounds in flight from west to east, all at an unknown distance north-east of the camera.

On the evening and night of 11-12 February, the same camera recorded 61 tracer rounds in flight from west to east, 2-5km north-north-east, followed by a total of 36 undetermined explosions, 13 airbursts and almost 900 tracer rounds in flight (348 from east to west, 488 from west to east, 47 from south-south-west to north-north-east and four from south-west to north-east), mostly at undetermined distances north-north-east. In the early evening of 12 February, the camera recorded one rocket-assisted projectile in flight from east to west, followed by a total of 67 tracer rounds in flight (52 from west to east, 15 from east to west) and one rocket-assisted projectile in flight from east to west, all at unknown distances north-north-east of the camera.

On 11 February, positioned south-east of government-controlled Lebedynske (16km north-east of Mariupol) for over two hours, the SMM heard 16 undetermined explosions 3km north-north-east, as well as two short periods of small-arms fire at similar distances and directions.

The same day, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Kulykove (30km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard ten undetermined explosions to the north-north-west (six 4-6km away and four at unknown distances), as well as heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire at similar distances and directions.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations between the evenings of 10 and 11 February compared with the previous reporting period (including, however, seven explosions compared with 39), and a similar number between the evenings of 11 and 12 February compared with the previous 24 hours.

On 11 February, positioned north of “LPR”-controlled Sentianivka (formerly Frunze, 44km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard four explosions assessed to be automatic-grenade-launcher rounds about 3km north-north-west. Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Irmino (54km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard two undetermined explosions and intense small-arms fire 3-15km north and north-north-east.

On 12 February, positioned in government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard two explosions assessed as an outgoing 82mm mortar round 3-4km north and its impact 2-3km north-west. Positioned in government-controlled Lobacheve (17km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 26 bursts of small-arms fire 3km south-west. Positioned in government-controlled Lopaskyne (23km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 31 bursts of small-arms fire 3-5km south and west.

The SMM followed up on a report of civilian casualties. On 11 February, staff at a military hospital in government-controlled Pokrovsk (formerly Krasnoarmiisk, 55km north-west of Donetsk) told the SMM that two men from Avdiivka had been admitted on 9 February. (SeeSMM Daily Report 11 February 2017.) According to hospital records, the first (aged about 60), following surgery for a head injury caused by shrapnel, was transferred by helicopter to a hospital in Dnipro, and the second (aged about 50) was transferred to the civilian hospital in Pokrovsk after surgery for shrapnel wounds on his right side (forearm and waist).

The SMM followed up on a report of shelling in Krasnohorivka. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) said that five locations were hit on 10 February by rounds from multiple-launch rocket systems (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) and mortars (type unknown). The SMM could not visit the sites due to security concerns.

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 11 February in government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska, a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM that there were no plans to disengage or conduct de-mining activities. On 12 February, positioned inside the disengagement area, the SMM heard two explosions assessed as artillery rounds, 5-6km north-east (assessed as outside the disengagement area). The SMM observed an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV; BMP-1) covered with camouflage and stationary in a bunker in a government-controlled area north of the bridge, inside the disengagement area.

On 12 February, the SMM observed that a previously abandoned “LPR” position inside the Zolote disengagement area appeared to be in use, as fresh heavy-vehicle tracks led to a bunker with smoke coming from its chimney. No people were observed. The same day, positioned in government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk), just outside the disengagement area, the SMM heard one explosion assessed as the impact of an 82mm mortar round 2km north-east, and four explosions assessed as outgoing mortar rounds (calibre unknown) 2km west, all assessed as outside the disengagement area.

On 11 February, positioned in non-government-controlled Petrivske, the SMM heard one undetermined explosion, two shots of automatic-grenade-launcher fire and four shots of small-arms fire, all 2-10km north-west and assessed to be outside the disengagement area. On 12 February, positioned outside the disengagement area, the SMM heard one undetermined explosion, 3-5km north-north-west (assessed to be outside 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 withdrawal lines the SMM observed, in government-controlled areas, two towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) towed by trucks moving north near Voitove (33km north-west of Luhansk).

In areas not controlled by the Government, the SMM observed: a stationary tank (T-64, 125mm) near Zhovte (17km north-west of Luhansk); a stationary tank (T-64) in Lyman (12km north-west of Luhansk); four stationary tanks (T-64) and two anti-tank guided missile systems (9K111 Fagot, 120mm) mounted on stationary IFVs (BMP-1) in Vyshnevyi Dil (13km east of Luhansk); a camouflaged tank (type unknown) in Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol); and a self-propelled howitzer (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) in a warehouse between the Kirovskyi and Petrovskyi districts of Donetsk city, with other heavy weapons inside that could not be identified because armed “DPR” members prevented the SMM from accessing the site.* (The SMM assessed two sets of tracks leading to the warehouse as those of a self-propelled howitzer (2S1) and either a tank or self-propelled howitzer (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm).)

The SMM observed fresh tracks that it assessed to be from at least four vehicles towing an unknown number of howitzers (2A65) near Irmino and tank tracks near Lobacheve (13km east of Luhansk).

Beyond withdrawal lines, but outside storage sites, in government-controlled areas the SMM observed one self-propelled howitzer (2S3) heading south, three self-propelled howitzers (2S1) (two stationary and one moving west), all near Bohoiavlenka (46km south-west of Donetsk), and three towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm) towed by trucks moving east near Sievierodonetsk (74km north-west of Luhansk).

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 mortars (M120-15 Molot, 120mm), five towed howitzers (2A36) and 29 self-propelled howitzers (2S1), of which 11 were observed for the first time. The SMM observed as missing: 43 anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm), three anti-tank guns (D-48, 85mm), 11 towed howitzers (ten 2A65 and one 2A36), six mortars (2B11 Sani, 120mm), and 45 self-propelled howitzers (2S1), of which 11 were observed as absent for the first time. In addition, the SMM noted that five sites remained abandoned, with the following weapons missing: 18 towed howitzers (2A65), 12 towed howitzers (2A18, 122mm), 18 self-propelled howitzers (2S1) and six mortars (2B11).

The SMM revisited a Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage site whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines and observed that all weapons previously verified as withdrawn to the site were present.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles (ACVs), anti-aircraft guns [2] and military-type trucks in the security zone, as well as tracks of military-type vehicles. In government-controlled areas the SMM observed: a stationary IFV (BMP-2) and an unidentified ACV near Krasnohorivka; two stationary armoured personnel carriers (APC; BTR variants) near Dalnie (40km west of Donetsk); three stationary IFVs (BMP-2) near Heorhiievka (27km south-west of Donetsk); an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) mounted on a truck moving south near Krasnohorivka; two APCs (MT-LB) travelling north-west near Staryi Aidar (20km north-west of Luhansk), two stationary IFVs (BMP-1) near Stanytsia Luhanska (one within the disengagement area, one outside); one stationary APC (BRDM-2) near Vrubivka (71km north-west of Luhansk) and fresh tracks of a vehicle with an APC (MT-LB) chassis near Lebedynske.

In areas not controlled by the Government, in Luhansk region, the SMM observed: an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) mounted on a stationary truck near Zolote-5 (61km north-west of Luhansk); one IFV (BMP-1), one military-type truck, and one APC (MT-LB) near Vyshnevyi Dil; three APCs (MT-LB) and five military-type trucks near Donetskyi (50km north-west of Luhansk); four stationary IFVs (BMP-1) and a military-type truck south of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (outside the disengagement area); two stationary IFVs (BMP-1) near “LPR”-controlled Lyman (12km north-west of Luhansk); three IFVs (BMP-1) near Luhansk city; one APC (MT-LB) travelling north-west near Dovhe (22km north-west of Luhansk), a military-type truck heading north near Novokyivka (25km east of Luhansk), a stationary military-type truck near Zhovte; and a command post antenna, two antennas of military-type vehicles and three armed men near Lobacheve (13km east of Luhansk).

The SMM also observed armed men clearing trenches at several sites along a road between Novoselivka (16km west of Luhansk) and Dovhe; about ten men, some armed with automatic grenade launchers and heavy machine-guns, near Molodizhne (63km north-west of Luhansk), and five armed men near Slovianoserbsk (28km north-west of Luhansk) wearing white armbands.

The SMM also observed: one APC (MT-LB) and a military-type truck travelling north near Kreminets (16km south-west of Donetsk); an armoured recovery vehicle on a flatbed truck in Kamianka (24km south of Donetsk); six mock artillery pieces hidden in freshly-dug trenches near Rozdolne (46km south-east of Donetsk); a stationary military-type all-terrain vehicle, along with three armed persons in white camouflage clothing, near Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk); tracks assessed as those of an APC near Rozdolne; and tracks assessed to be those of six-eight armoured vehicles moving west, between the Kirovskyi and Petrovskyi districts of Donetsk city.

Aerial imagery on 8 February revealed 15 armoured vehicles in areas between government-controlled Krymske and “LPR”-controlled Smile (42 and 31km north-west of Luhansk, respectively). The imagery also revealed about 170 new craters in those areas, about 90 of which were concentrated in a 2-3km radius area around a Ukrainian Armed Forces position, as well as newly excavated positions near “LPR”-controlled Sokilnyky (38km north-west of Luhansk) and Smile.

The SMM continued monitoring blockades of railway tracks (see SMM Daily Report 11 February 2017). On 11 February, the SMM saw ten people in camouflage-type clothing, four of whom were armed, blocking a rail crossing about 2km north of government-controlled Petrivka (43km north of Donetsk), as well as two military-type tents, national flags of Ukraine, and black-and-red flags. The SMM saw six of the people (all unarmed) reinforcing the blockade point. A train consisting of about 30 empty wagons was stationary south of the crossing. The SMM noted that road vehicle traffic was not impeded.

On 12 February, the SMM observed that the blockade of a railway track in government-controlled Hirske (63km west of Luhansk) remained unchanged (see SMM Daily Report 11 February 2017). About ten unarmed persons in camouflage fatigues at the blockade site told the SMM they had been members of volunteer battalions.

The SMM continued to facilitate repairs of essential infrastructure. On 11 and 12 February, the SMM continued monitoring ceasefire adherence during repair works to a power line near government-controlled Luhanske (59km north-east of Donetsk; see (see SMM Daily Report 11 February 2017).

The SMM continued to monitor the situation of civilians living near the contact line. On 12 February in the centre of Avdiivka, the SMM observed that all warming tents, military mobile kitchens and other installations had been dismantled and removed from the area around the city stadium. Two women (aged 50-60) told the SMM that electricity, water and heating were available without interruption. A medical professional in the area of Horlivka told the SMM of reports that children were suffering restlessness, aggression, sound sensitivity and other problems due to the ongoing conflict, harming their psychological development.

The SMM monitored the situation of civilians walking across the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge. On 12 February, at the government checkpoint north of the bridge, the SMM observed about 150 people queuing to enter government-controlled areas and about 60 queuing in the opposite direction. At an “LPR” checkpoint south of the bridge, the SMM observed about 450 people queuing to walk towards government-controlled areas and about 150 people queuing in the opposite direction. The SMM observed for the first time a small crack in the northern part of the bridge, next to one observed previously (see SMM Daily Report 28 January 2017).

The SMM visited two border areas currently not under government control. On 11 February during 30 minutes at the border crossing point near Marynivka (78km east of Donetsk), the SMM observed ten private vehicles (six with Ukrainian, four with Russian Federation licence plates) leaving Ukraine. During just over 30 minutes at the border crossing point near Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed five passenger vehicles, three covered trucks, and one bus leaving Ukraine. Four of the vehicles had Russian Federation licence plates, three had Ukrainian licence plates, and two had European Union licence plates. The SMM observed six private vehicles (four with Ukrainian, two with Russian Federation licence plates) enter Ukraine.

On 11 February, the SMM noted a calm situation at the border crossing point in government-controlled Prosiane (117km north of Luhansk).

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:

  • On both 11 and 12 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 UXO. The SMM informed the JCCC both times.

  • On both 11 and 12 February, “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.

  • On both 11 and 12 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 times.

  • On both 11 and 12 February, anti-tank obstacles on the road and the presence of a mine hazard sign prevented the SMM from travelling between 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 each time.

  • On both 11 and 12 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 road south of the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC both times.

  • On 11 February, seven armed “LPR” members stopped the SMM on a road north of Lobacheve (13km east of Luhansk) and told it to leave the area immediately. The SMM observed tank tracks leading to the area, as well as antennas of two military-type vehicles. The SMM informed the JCCC but, after being denied access, departed the area.

  • On 12 February, a private vehicle with Russian Federation licence plates followed the SMM from Rozdolne to Petrivske. At a “DPR” checkpoint on the village’s eastern edge, an armed man emerged from the vehicle, introduced himself as a “DPR” “lieutenant” and told the SMM that a “duty officer” in Rozdolne had ordered him not to allow the SMM to enter Petrivske. The SMM departed and accessed Petrivske from another checkpoint.

  • On 12 February, while observing a camouflaged tank (type unknown) in “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy (see above), the SMM heard 15-20 shots of small-arms fire 50-100m from the SMM’s position near the tank. The SMM assessed the shots not to be directed at the SMM but to be warning shots. The SMM left the area immediately.

  • On 12 February, three armed men denied the SMM passage through a checkpoint in “DPR”-controlled Staromykhailivka (15km west of Donetsk), despite the fact that the SMM was accompanied by a Russian officer of the JCCC. The men communicated with the SMM aggressively and warned it that using other roads to access the village was impossible, as they were mined.

  • On 12 February, two armed “DPR” members at a warehouse between the Kirovskyi and Petrovskyi districts of Donetsk city prevented the SMM from inspecting heavy weapons observed at the site (see above).

Conditional access:

  • On both 11 and 12 February, “DPR” members (armed the first day, unarmed the second) remained close to the SMM as it accessed data from the SMM camera in Petrivske. The SMM informed the JCCC both times.

  • On 11 February, at an intersection in southern Donetsk city, armed “DPR” members checked the trunks of the SMM vehicles and the personal knapsack of an SMM monitor before allowing the SMM to proceed.

  • On 11 February, five armed men stopped the SMM in Vyshnevyi Dil and allowed it to proceed further only by foot and accompanied by them. The SMM observed military-type vehicles in the area (see above).

  • On 12 February, armed “DPR” members at three separate checkpoints south-east of Maiorsk (government-controlled, 45km north-east of Donetsk) inspected the trunks of SMM vehicles before allowing them to proceed to Horlivka.

Delay:

  • On 12 February, armed “DPR” members delayed the SMM for about 20 minutes at a checkpoint south-east of government-controlled Maiorsk (45km north-east of Donetsk).

[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