Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 13 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 period between the evenings of the 11 and 12 February, mainly in the Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport area. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske but its access remained restricted. Its freedom of movement was restricted on numerous other occasions, in particular in areas not controlled by the Government. The Mission observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line and noted the presence of armed formations in the security zone in Luhansk region. It facilitated repair of essential infrastructure near Luhanske and Pikuzy. The SMM observed the blockade of a railway crossing near Hirske and talked with interlocutors who spoke of the consequences of the blockade. The Mission followed up on a security incident at an activist camp in Kherson.*

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region, including about 110 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period.[1] Most of the explosions recorded by the SMM occurred in Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport area.

While in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city on the evening and night of 12-13 February the SMM heard 54 undetermined explosions 8-10km north-north-west. Positioned at the “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) railway station for about five hours on 13 February, the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions 2-4km north-west, west and south-west. Positioned at the “DPR”-controlled Donetsk central railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk city centre) for about four hours on 13 February the SMM heard 26 undetermined explosions 4-8km north and north-west.

While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 5-7km south-south-east. While in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 5-8km north.

On the night of 12-13 February the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Shyrokyne) recorded 55 rocket-assisted projectiles in flight from west to east and three in flight from east to west, in addition to small-arms fire in both directions, all at unknown distances north and north-north-east. Positioned in Shyrokyne late in the morning on 13 February the SMM heard one explosion assessed as an outgoing round 1km north.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including one explosion, compared with the period between the evenings of 12 and 13 February. Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Kalynove-Borshchuvate (61km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 3-5km south-south-west late in the morning on 13 February.

The SMM followed up on reports of shelling in residential areas. In government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) the SMM, accompanied by Ukrainian officers of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), observed four impacts which according to residents of affected buildings had occurred on the night of 2-3 February. The SMM observed that the roof of a house on Sadova Street was partially collapsed and noted shrapnel damage to the wall of a house on Krasna Street.

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.* The SMM noted a calm situation while present in and around the three disengagement areas.

Despite the joint statement of 1 February by the Trilateral Contact Group, the SMM’s request of 3 February for baseline information related to weapons to be withdrawn and locations of units and formations remained unanswered. The SMM nonetheless 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 areas not controlled by the Government, four tanks (T-64) near Vyshnevyi Dil (13km east of Luhansk), another near Pryvitne (11km north of Luhansk) and a sixth (T-64) near Lyman (12km north-west of Luhansk).

In government-controlled areas the SMM observed one anti-tank gun (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) near Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk), one towed howitzer (D-20, 152mm) near Novoaidar (49km north-west of Luhansk) and another (D-20) near Dmytrivka (43km north of Luhansk), all in violation of the withdrawal lines.

Beyond withdrawal lines, but outside storage sites, in government-controlled areas the SMM observed three self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika 122mm) near Kramatorsk (83km north of Donetsk) and three tanks (T-64) near Novookhtyrka (55km north-west of Luhansk).

The SMM revisited a permanent storage site not controlled by the Government 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[2] in the security zone in Luhansk region. In areas not controlled by the Government the SMM observed five infantry fighting vehicles (IFV; BMP) near Luhansk city, two IFVs (BMP) south of Stanytsia Luhanska bridge and one armoured personnel carrier (APC; MTLB) and three IFVs (BMP) near Vyshnevyi Dil.

In government-controlled areas the SMM observed one IFV (BMP-1) near Stanytsia Luhanska and (on 12 February) two IFVs (BMP-1) near Popasna.

The SMM also observed armed men clearing trenches along a road between “LPR”-controlled Smile and Slovianoserbsk (31 and 28km north-west of Luhansk, respectively) and observed groups of 15-20 armed men near Vyshnevyi Dil, Molodizhne (63km north-west of Luhansk) and Pryvitne.

The SMM continued to monitor a blockade of railway tracks along the contact line (see SMM Daily Report 13 February 2017). On 12 February, in government-controlled Hirske (63km west of Luhansk), the SMM observed two unarmed men in camouflage fatigues who remained near a tent at the site of a railway track blocked by tree trunks. The SMM noted that one police officer was present at the scene.

The head of a railway station terminal in Yasynuvata told the SMM that no cargo trains had arrived from government-controlled Kostiantynivka (60km north of Donetsk) in the past three days.

In “DPR”-controlled Yenakiieve (41km north-east of Donetsk) a manager at a steel plant told the Mission that if the blockage of railway traffic to and from areas not controlled by the Government continued, the plant’s two blast furnaces would become inoperable within a month. He said that the closure of the factory could endanger up to 15,000 jobs in the steel industry. Three representatives of a power plant in government-controlled Mykolaivka (95km north of Donetsk) told the SMM that the blockade affected coal supplies to the plant which provided heating for about 15,000 people. The men went on to say that the power plant was dependent on a type of coal found in areas not controlled by the Government.

The SMM continued monitoring adherence to the ceasefire to facilitate repair works to a power line near government-controlled Luhanske (59km north-east of Donetsk) which supplied electricity to “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk). In “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove; 23km north-east of Mariupol) the Mission observed residents conducting repair work on a damaged gas pipeline in an open field at the western edge of the village. The SMM stayed in the area until the work could be finished.

The SMM monitored the situation of civilians at entry-exit checkpoints along the contact line. At the “LPR” checkpoint south of Stanytsia Luhanska bridge the SMM observed about 600 people queuing to walk towards government-controlled areas and no one queuing in the opposite direction. The SMM noted that the stairs on the wooden ramps across the broken section of the bridge were slippery due to ice and the worn condition of the ramps. At a government-controlled checkpoint near Berezove (31km south-west of Donetsk) the SMM saw 304 cars queuing to travel toward government-controlled areas and ten buses queuing to travel in the opposite direction.

The SMM visited a border area currently not under government control. The Mission observed regular traffic and noted a calm situation while present near Voznesenivka (formerly Chervonopartyzansk; 65km south-east of Luhansk) for over one hour.

In Kherson the SMM followed up on reports of a security operation at a camp for Crimean Tatar activists observing an entry-exit checkpoint to the Crimean peninsula near Chonhar (163km south-east of Kherson). A community leader told the SMM that on the evening of 12 February Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel had arrived to the camp in eight APCs and one had knocked down the front gate of the compound. On 13 February the SMM observed about 30 Crimean Tatar activists in camouflage fatigues inside the camp. In the early afternoon a leader of the activists made a statement describing the event as a mistake. A statement later made by the regional administration indicated that the incident had been the result of poor communication and confirmed that no detentions or arrests had been made and the matter was considered closed. The Mission visited another activist camp near Kalanchak (67km north-east of Kherson) and found that the camp had not been affected.

In Kyiv the Mission attended the re-opening of an art exhibition which had been vandalized on 7 February (see SMM Daily Report 11 February). The SMM observed about 70 men and women in their twenties attend the event in a calm atmosphere. Six private security guards were present at the entrance to the event.

In Kharkiv police told the SMM that an investigation had been launched into an incident in which unknown individuals marked the door of a bank in the city centre with paint. The SMM observed red paint being cleaned off the door at the bank. The Mission spoke with a representative from an organization who confirmed that their members had participated in the action. He indicated that they had targeted the bank as it was affiliated with the Russian Federation.

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

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.

  • 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.

  • Armed “LPR” members did not provide the SMM with security guarantees to access 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 on a side road within the disengagement area in government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk) due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. The Mission informed the JCCC.

  • The SMM was unable to travel between government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk) and Popasna due to anti-tank obstacles on the road and the possible presence of mines. The SMM informed the JCCC.

  • The SMM was unable to travel between “DPR”-controlled Petrivske and government-controlled Bohdanivka due to the lack of security guarantees and possible presence of mines. 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 road south of the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC.

  • At the last “DPR”-controlled check-point west of Pikuzy an armed man told the SMM that the road to the south-west was mined and that they did not intend to remove the mines. The Mission turned back and informed the JCCC.

  • Just west of “LPR”-controlled Verhulivka (64km west of Luhansk) three armed men told the SMM that there were mines along the road leading towards the village centre and told the SMM to turn around. The Mission informed the JCCC.

  • While attempting to confirm the presence of heavy weapons near “LPR”-controlled Kalynove (59km west of Luhansk) armed men stopped the SMM from proceeding further. The Mission informed the JCCC.

Conditional access:

An armed “DPR” member remained close to the SMM as it accessed data from the SMM camera in Petrivske. The SMM informed the JCCC. Delay:

  • In “LPR”-controlled Vyshnevyi Dil (13km east of Luhansk) two armed stopped the SMM for twenty minutes before allowing the Mission to continue. After continuing about 300-400m further the SMM observed four tanks (see above). The Mission informed the JCCC.

Other impediments:

At a coal-mining enterprise in Yenakiieve, while attempting to obtain information about the current situation at the enterprise, the SMM was shown a letter from the “DPR” “ministry of coal and energy” stating that mining enterprises were restricted from providing any information to external parties without the permission of senior “DPR” members.

[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