Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 20 February 2017

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This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region compared with the previous 24-hour period. In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, but more explosions compared with the previous 24-hour period. The SMM, in co-ordination with the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), facilitated and monitored repair of power supply to the Donetsk Water Filtration station and Avdiivka. The Mission observed restoration of electricity in Avdiivka. In areas not under government control the SMM observed a number of weapons in violation of the respective withdrawal lines in Luhansk region. The Mission continued to observe the blockade of railway tracks near Hirske. In various cities the SMM observed generally peaceful demonstrations commemorating the events on Maidan in Kyiv three years ago. In Kharkiv, the SMM followed up on media reports of an alleged shooting incident on the night of 17 February.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations [1] in Donetsk region with about 370 explosions, compared with the previous 24-hour period (610 explosions). Nearly 70 per cent of those explosions were recorded in the Svitlodarsk-Debaltseve area.

From the evening of 19 February to the morning of 20 February, while in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre the SMM did not record any ceasefire violation. On 20 February, positioned at the “DPR”-controlled Donetsk central railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk city centre) the SMM heard six undetermined explosions 4-6km and 7-10km west, and 5-10km south-west. In the afternoon while in Donetsk city centre the SMM heard four undetermined explosions 3-5km west.

Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about five hours the SMM heard 25 undetermined explosions and 64 bursts of small-arms fire and 35 shots of heavy-machine-gun fire 3-12km west, and two undetermined explosions 3-5km north-west. Positioned in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) for about five hours, the SMM heard 16 explosions assessed as outgoing mortar rounds 3-5km south-south-east, and subsequently as many explosions assessed as their impacts 1.5-3km south-south-east. The SMM also heard 27 undetermined explosions 1.5-4km east-south-east, south-east, and south.

Before midnight of 19-20 February, while in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard 67 undetermined explosions 3-8km north-west. The following day, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Novohryhorivka (61km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard 78 undetermined explosions 4-8km north-west-north and west-north-west.

On the afternoon of 20 February, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard 106 undetermined explosions: 44 explosions 3-7km south-east, seven explosions 3-5km south, and 55 explosions 5-10km south-west.

While in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk) on the evening of 19 February, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 8-10km north-west and 4-6km west.

Before midnight of 19-20 February the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded one undetermined explosion and 13 tracer rounds (11 in flight from south-west to north-east and two from west to east), all at undetermined distances to the north and north-north-east of the camera’s location. After midnight the camera recorded ten tracer rounds from east to west all at undetermined distances to the north-north-east.

On 20 February, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM heard 22 undetermined explosions at undetermined distances to the west and west-south-west.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, but more explosions (20 explosions) compared with the previous 24-hour period (two explosions). Positioned 1.6km east-east-south of government-controlled Krymske (42km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard six explosions assessed as the impacts of 82mm mortar rounds 1-3.5km south-south-east and south-west, and one explosion assessed as the impact of a 120mm mortar round 2km west. While in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard seven explosions assessed as artillery (undetermined calibre) rounds 10-15km west-south-west and three explosions assessed as outgoing artillery (undetermined calibre) rounds 5km west-north-west.

The SMM, in co-ordination with the JCCC, monitored adherence to the ceasefire and facilitated dialogue in order to repair critical infrastructure. In the morning a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM that repair work on power lines had been completed and the power supply to Avdiivka had been restored. The SMM noted that electricity was available in the building of a cultural centre in Avdiivka. Residents in a shop in the city centre confirmed to the SMM the restoration of electricity. The SMM also observed repair work on damaged power lines near “DPR”-controlled Kruta Balka (16km north of Donetsk). An employee of Voda Donbass company told the SMM that power supply to the Donetsk Water Filtration Station had been re-established and the company planned to restart the operation of the station the following day.

In “LPR”-controlled Slovianoserbsk and Krasnyi Lyman (30 and 31km north-west of Luhansk. respectively) the SMM observed employees of a water company conducting the inspection of water wells and reservoirs for water supply in the areas.

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 there remained restricted but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*

The SMM noted a calm situation while present in and around the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska and Zolote.

On the evening of 18 February, the SMM camera in Petrivske recorded one shot of small arms fire 100-300m south (assessed as outside the disengagement area) and another shot of small arms fire 100-300m south-west (the SMM was not able to assess whether it had occurred inside the disengagement area). During the day of 20 February, positioned in government-controlled Bohdanivka (41km south-west of Donetsk) for six hours, the SMM heard one explosion assessed as an outgoing mortar round (undermined calibre) 2km north-north-west, six undetermined explosions at an unknown distance north, and nine bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire at an unknown distance north-east (all assessed as outside the disengagement area).

Despite the joint statement of 1 February by the Trilateral Contact Group and the consent reached on 15 February, the sides have not yet provided the baseline information requested by the SMM related to weapons to be withdrawn and locations of units and formations.

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 in areas not under government control, the SMM saw: three tanks (T-64) in Oleksandrivsk (10km west of Luhansk); two stationary tanks (unknown type) and two anti-tank guided missiles (unknown type) each mounted on a stationary infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) in Zhovte (17km north-west of Luhansk); two anti-tank guided missiles (9K111 Fagot, 120mm or 9M113 Konkurs, 135mm) each mounted on a stationary IFV (BMP-1) in Vyshnevyi Dil (13km east of Luhansk); one towed howitzer (unknown type) with the barrel orienting the north-north-west in Veselohorivka (64km west to Luhansk); one stationary tank (type unknown) in Pryvitne (11km north of Luhansk); and one stationary tank (T-64) in Raivka (16km north-west of Luhansk).

In violation of the respective withdrawal lines in government-controlled areas the SMM saw six stationary anti-tank guns (MT-12, Rapira 100mm) in Zhelanne (36km north-west of Donetsk).

Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside of storage sites, an SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted one self-propelled howitzer (2S19 Msta-S, 152mm) heading south, thereafter turning north and leaving the area near government-controlled Hrodivka (43km north-west of Donetsk). An SMM UAV spotted five stationary tanks (T-64) near government-controlled Aslanove (16km north of Mariupol).

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 respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed five towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 155mm), one of which was observed for the first time, and four self-propelled howitzers (2S19) for the first time. The SMM also noted as missing: 11 self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm), 12 towed howitzers (eleven D-20, 152mm and two 2A36), two were noted as missing for the first time, ten anti-tank guns (four MT-12 and six D-48, 85mm). The SMM noted one site as abandoned for the first time with four towed howitzers (D-20) missing.

The SMM revisited a Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent weapons storage site, whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines and observed as missing: 20 tanks (T-64) and ten mortars (seven 2B9 Vasilek, 82mm; one 2B14 Podnos, 82mm; and two BM-37 82mm) as previously noted.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles [2] and anti-aircraft weapons in the security zone. In government-controlled areas the SMM saw: one stationary armoured personnel carrier (APC; MTRB) and two infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs; BMP-1), all stationary near Luhanske (59km north-east of Donetsk); two stationary IFVs (BMP-2) near Popasna (69km west of Luhansk); one stationary IFV (BMP-1) near Stanytsia Luhanska (outside the disengagement area); one stationary IFV (BMP-1) and one stationary APC (BRDM-2) near Zolote; one IFV (BMP-1) loaded on a trailer heading north near Vrubivka (71km north-west of Luhansk); and three stationary IFVs (BMP-2) near Krymske.

In non-government-controlled areas, the SMM saw: two stationary IFVs (BMP), one of which mounted with one anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) near Novohryhorivka; one APC (MTLB) mounted one anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) travelling south in Kalynove (60km west of Luhansk); two stationary IFV (BMP-1) near Pryvitne; two stationary IFVs (BMP-1) near Raivka; one stationary IFV (BMP) south of Stanytsia Luhanska; two stationary APC (BTR) near Khoroshe (36km west of Luhansk); one APC (MTLB) travelling near Kalynove; three IFVs (BMP-1) and two APC (MTLB) all stationary near Vyshnevyi Dil; two stationary IFVs (BMP-1) in the north-eastern outskirts of Luhansk city; six stationary IFVs (BMP-1) near Pankivka (16km north of Luhansk); seven stationary IFVs (BMP-2) near Donetskyi (49km west of Luhansk); six IFVs (BMP-1) – two travelling and others parked – near Stare (formerly Chervonyi Prapor, 58km west to Luhansk); one APC (BTR) and one anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) mounted on a truck travelling west in Sentianivka (formerly Frunze, 44km west of Luhansk).

In government-controlled Staryi Aidar (20km north-west of Luhansk) a man wearing military-style clothes with a patch of the Georgian flag on his shoulder told the SMM that he had served in the Georgian military and arrived in Ukraine recently.

In “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy the SMM observed about 30 armed men in military-style clothes walking inside the village and three stationary military-type trucks.

On the western edge of “DPR”-controlled Komuna (56km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM observed, for the first time, the tail of a multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) rocket (BM-27 Uragan, 220mm), stuck in the ground. The rocket was located in an open field about 300m from the nearest house. The site was not marked or fenced off. In “DPR”-controlled Novohryhorivka the SMM also observed a MLRS rocket (BM-27) imbedded in the ground at the roadside in a populated area, 5-8m from a house. At both sides, due to the security concern the SMM was not able to conduct further assessment.

The SMM continued to monitor a blockade at railway tracks, which cross the contact line (see SMM Daily Report 20 February 2017)). In government-controlled Hirske (63km west of Luhansk) the SMM observed that the railway track was still blocked with wooden barriers and barbed wire.

The SMM monitored peaceful demonstrations commemorating the third anniversary of the Maidan events. On the evening of 19 February, the SMM saw a gathering of about 300 people (mostly men aged between 20 and 35) in front of the Duke Monument in Odessa (overseen by two police officers and ten guards of city council). On 20 February, the SMM monitored a gathering of 300 people (men and women different age groups) near the Shevchenko monument in Kharkiv (overseen by 150 law enforcement officers), a gathering of 800 people (men and women different age groups) in front of the building of the regional administration in Ivano-Frankivsk (overseen by five police officers), and a gathering of 1,500 people (men and women different age groups) in front of the monument to the “Heavenly Hundred” (overseen by about 400 officers of police and National Guard present) in Kyiv.

In Kharkiv, the SMM followed up on media reports of a shooting incident which had occurred on the night of 17 February. On 18 February residents (a man and woman aged 40) told the SMM that they had heard shooting on the previous night, and showed the site, where they said the incident had occurred. At a hospital in Kharkiv city, medical staff stated that on the night of 17 February a wounded man had been admitted to the hospital and received medical treatment. On 20 February a police officer informed the SMM that an investigation had been opened and charges brought based on articles 15.2, 115.2 and 296.4 of the Criminal Code (attempted homicide, premeditated murder, and disorderly conduct), adding that the police had detained five individuals and seized a number of small arms.

The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Lviv, 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.

Denial of access:

In the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area a Ukrainian officer of the JCCC told the SMM that, with the exception of the main road, its safety could not be guaranteed in the surrounding areas due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. The SMM informed the JCCC. The possible presence of mines and UXO prevented the SMM from travelling further south-east into the Zolote disengagement area from government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk). The Mission informed the JCCC.

At an “LPR” checkpoint at the edge of the Zolote disengagement area told the SMM that its safety could not be guaranteed in fields and side roads due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. The Mission observed mine hazard signs in the area. The SMM informed the JCCC.

On two separate occasions the presence of anti-tank obstacles and mine hazard signs on the road prevented the SMM from traveling between Katerynivka and government-controlled Popasna. The Mission informed the JCCC.

The SMM was unable to travel west from “DPR”-controlled Petrivske due to a lack of security guarantees and the possible presence of mines. The Mission informed the JCCC.

The SMM was unable to travel east from government-controlled Bohdanivka due to the lack of security guarantees and the presence of anti-tank mines on the road. 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.

Armed men prevented the SMM from passing a checkpoint in “DPR”-controlled Novohryhorivka towards north, citing security concerns. The SMM informed the JCCC.

In government-controlled Staryi Aidar Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel did not allow the SMM to enter a compound. The SMM informed the JCCC.

Armed men again stopped the SMM near “LPR”-controlled Oleksandrivsk (10km west of Luhansk) and prevented it from proceeding to the village, citing ongoing demining activities (see SMM Daily Report 20 February 2017). The SMM informed the JCCC.

At a checkpoint in the north-western outskirts of “LPR”-controlled Luhansk city armed “LPR” members stopped the SMM and prevented it from proceeding north-west, citing ongoing demining activities. The SMM informed the JCCC.

At a checkpoint in “LPR”-controlled Kalynove three armed “LPR” members prevented the SMM from proceeding south-west. The SMM informed the JCCC. Conditional access:

The SMM was again allowed to pass through a checkpoint in “DPR”-controlled Olenivka (23km south-west of Donetsk, see SMM Daily Report 17 February 2017) only after an armed man had searched the SMM vehicles. He cited orders not to allow the SMM to pass without its vehicles being searched. The Mission 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