Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 14 August 2017

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded a similar number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and fewer ceasefire violations in Luhansk region compared with the previous 24 hours. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded ceasefire violations near the Zolote disengagement area. The Mission’s access was restricted in all three disengagement areas.* The SMM facilitated and monitored repairs to power lines in Slovianoserbsk, the Petrivske pumping station near Artema and the Zolote-Popasna water pipelines, as well as maintenance works to the thermal power plant in Shchastia. The SMM also facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable the extinguishing of a fire in Katerynivka. The Mission visited three border areas not under government control. In Odessa the SMM monitored a public gathering.

In Donetsk region the SMM recorded a similar number of ceasefire violations [1], including about 130 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours (about 160 explosions). Most of the ceasefire violations were recorded in known hotspots: areas south-south-east and south-east of Avdiivka, south-east of Svitlodarsk and north-east of Mariupol.

On the evening and night of 13-14 August the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, two projectiles in flight from west to east, 19 tracer rounds in flight from south to north, three projectiles from north-west to south-east, three undetermined explosions, ten projectiles from north to south, one undetermined explosion, three projectiles from west-north-west to east-south-east and four projectiles from north to south, all 4-6km east-south-east and south-east.

The following day, positioned in Avdiivka for over five hours, the SMM heard 17 undetermined explosions and about 120 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 2-5km east-south-east, and heard and saw two explosions assessed as impacts 2-4km east-south-east.

While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) during the evening and night of 13-14 August, the SMM heard sporadic ceasefire violations, including one undetermined explosion 5-7km south-east and 45 undetermined explosions 3-10km south-east. On the afternoon of 14 August, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 5-7km south-east.

On the evening and night of 13-14 August, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, in sequence, one tracer round in flight from east to west, two undetermined explosions, three tracer rounds from west to east, and 14 tracer rounds from east to west, followed by a total of 295 tracer rounds in flight (184 from east to west and 111 west to east) and four undetermined explosions, all at unknown distances north.

During the day on 14 August, positioned 2.6km south-east of government-controlled Lomakyne (15km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM heard 21 explosions: ten assessed as outgoing rounds and 11 undetermined, all at unknown distances north-north-east and north-east. Positioned about 1km north-east of “DPR”-controlled Zaichenko (26km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM heard 33 undetermined explosions at unknown distances south-west.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including 35 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours (46 explosions).

In the early morning hours of 14 August, while in government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 18 explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of rocket-propelled grenade launchers (type unknown) and one explosion assessed as an outgoing mortar round (82mm) 4km south-east. Earlier in the night on 13 August, the SMM heard bursts and shots of armoured personnel carrier (APC) (BTR-variant) fire, as well as heavy-machine gun and small-arms fire, all 4km south-east.

During the day of 14 August, positioned in “LPR”-controlled Holubivske (51km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions 2-5km north-north-east. Positioned on the southern edge of Holubivske, the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions 4-6km north.

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 2016. The SMM’s access remained restricted but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*

In the early morning of 13 August the SMM camera in government-controlled Zolote recorded six projectiles in flight from north-west to south-east, 2.5km east-north-east, assessed as having occurred outside the disengagement area.

Positioned in the disengagement area south of government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska, the SMM noted a calm situation.

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 withdrawal lines in areas not under government control an SMM mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted a tank (T-64) in Smile (31km north-west of Luhansk) which had burn marks on its turret and main gun barrel, was missing turret hatches and had no machine-gun on the turret. The SMM assessed, based on the deep scrapes and gouges on the road surface, that the tank had been dragged with its tracks locked.

Beyond withdrawal lines, but outside designated storage sites, in areas not under government control, the SMM observed four tanks (T-72) being loaded on flatbed trucks near a known training area in Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk), and a tank (T-72) on a flatbed trailer in the northern outskirts of Sorokyne (formerly Krasnadon, 43km south-east of Luhansk) heading north. Later in the day, on the northern edge of Khrustalnyi (formerly Krasnyi Luch, 56km south-west of Luhansk) the SMM saw four tanks (T-72), heading south, which the SMM assessed as those previously seen near the training area in Myrne.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles [2] and tracks of military-type vehicles in the security zone. In government-controlled areas the SMM observed a stationary infantry fighting vehicle (BMP-1) near Popasna.

In “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM observed fresh tracks of military-type vehicles, assessed as those of self-propelled howitzers and/or tanks and APCs, visible on recently paved roads. From the city, the tracks continued in two directions: north towards Mykytivka district and south-west of Horlivka to the entrance to “DPR”-controlled Ozerianivka (35km north-east of Donetsk), towards the contact line.

The SMM facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance works to essential infrastructure, as well as the extinguishing of a fire, co-ordinated by the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC). The SMM monitored a team of firefighters extinguishing a fire in government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk) and repair works to power lines in “LPR”-controlled Slovianoserbsk (28km north-west of Luhansk) that power the water pumping stations supplying water to Pervomaisk, Perevalsk and Brianka. The SMM also continued to facilitate and monitor maintenance works to the thermal power plant in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) and repair works at the Petrivske water pumping station near government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk) and to the Zolote-Popasna water pipeline.

The SMM visited three border areas not under government control. At the border crossing point near Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk), in about 45 minutes, the SMM saw 21 cars (most with Ukrainian licence plates and one with “DPR” plates) and one bus with Ukrainian licence plates in a queue to exit Ukraine. The SMM also saw two cars (one with Ukrainian and one with Russian Federation licence plates), one heavy-goods truck with covered cargo area and a tanker truck (both with Russian Federation licence plates), as well as two buses with “DPR” plates enter Ukraine. At the border crossing point in Marynivka (78km east of Donetsk), in about 40 minutes, the SMM saw 37 cars (including six with “DPR” plates), one bus with Ukrainian licence plates and six heavy-goods trucks with covered cargo area, with Russian Federation licence plates, in a queue to exit Ukraine.

At the border crossing point in Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk), in about two and a half hours, the SMM observed 65 cars (most with Ukrainian licence plates) in a queue to exit Ukraine. The SMM observed 20 cars (including four with “LPR” plates), one bus with Ukrainian licence plates (with 40-50 passengers) and six pedestrians, exit Ukraine, and 25 cars (including eight with “LPR” plates) and eight pedestrians enter Ukraine. Three motor bikers (men in their mid-twenties) told the SMM that they had come from the Russian Federation to take part in a parade that would start from Izvaryne and continue through Sorokyne to Luhansk city and then to Crimea. At 11:10, the SMM observed around 50 motorcycles and five cars near a building in Izvaryne.

On 12 August, the SMM followed up on reports of an assault against a journalist in government-controlled Rubizhne (84km north-west of Luhansk). The journalist told the Mission that on 11 August he had been following reports that a local market at 7 Microraion Street had been closed due to anti-terrorism exercises. He added that while attempting to enter a restaurant in the area, where he had seen at least 50 government cars parked in front, to gather more information, five armed security guards in military uniforms pushed him away and took his camera. On 14 August, two vendors at the market told the SMM that on 11 August two men had approached them and asked them to clear the area due to, what they had said, was a special operation. The head of the municipal police in Rubizhne told the SMM that there had been an incident between two parties at the abovementioned restaurant on the evening of 11 August, and that the police were investigating.

On 13 August the SMM monitored a march called “For Family Values”, organized by Christian churches in Odessa, which had been announced in a press conference on 9 August by representatives of these churches. The SMM observed about 300 participants (mixed gender and of different ages) gathering at Hretska Square. They then marched through the city centre led by seven priests of different Christian denominations. The march ended at Prymorskyi Boulevard, where participants prayed and chanted “Father, mother and a child – this is how a family should be.” The SMM observed that participants were carrying Ukrainian flags and banners with quotes supporting “traditional family values”. The SMM saw about 20 national police officers accompanying participants during the march, which ended without incidents.

The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Lviv, 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. The SMM’s operations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions remained restricted following the fatal incident of 23 April near Pryshyb; these restrictions continued to limit the Mission’s observations, including at the disengagement area near Petrivske.

Denial of access:

Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:

  • The SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads south of the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. An armed “LPR” member positioned on the southern side of the Zolote disengagement area told the SMM that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.

  • The possible presence of mines and UXO prevented the SMM from proceeding from Katerynivka toward the Zolote disengagement area. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM that no demining had taken place over the previous 24 hours. The SMM informed the JCCC.

  • The SMM was prevented from accessing parts of the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, with the exception of the main road, due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian officer of the JCCC told the SMM that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.

  • The SMM could not travel across the bridge in Shchastia due to the presence of mines. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC said there were mines on the road south of the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC.

[1] Please see the annexed table for a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations as well as a map of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions marked with locations featured in this report.

During this reporting period the SMM camera at the Oktiabr mine (Donetsk) remained non-operational.

  • 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 0849
Mobile: +380 50 381 5192
Mobile: +380 93 691 6790
mariia.aleksevych@osce.org
smm-media@osce.org