Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 11 October 2017

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and more in Luhansk region compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission followed up on reports of a man injured when the tractor he was driving struck something explosive near Metalist and of damage to civilian properties in Dokuchaievsk. The SMM continued monitoring all three disengagement areas. It recorded ceasefire violations near the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area and observed demining in the Zolote disengagement area. The Mission’s access remained restricted in the disengagement areas and elsewhere, including near Kozatske and Kuznetsovo-Mykhailivka.* The SMM saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near Oleksandropil and Zelene Pole. It facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance of essential infrastructure between Klynove and Novozvanivka, in Shchastia, near Artema, and between Zolote and Popasna.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations,[1] including about 120 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 330 explosions).

On the evening of 10 October, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded at least 25 tracer rounds in vertical flight 4-5km east-south-east. The following morning, the same camera recorded an undetermined explosion 2-3km east‑south-east.

On 11 October, positioned for about five hours on the south-western edge of Avdiivka, the SMM heard 27 undetermined explosions 2-5km east-south-east and south.

On the evening of 10 October, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 40 undetermined explosions and ten bursts of heavy‑machine-gun fire, all 4-5km south-south-east.

On 11 October, positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for almost four hours, the SMM heard six explosions and about 30 shots of small‑arms fire, all 1-5km west. Positioned for about two hours on the south-western edge of Yasynuvata, the SMM heard about 30 undetermined explosions, as well as heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, 1‑5km west.

On the night of 10-11 October, the SMM camera at the entry-exit checkpoint in government‑controlled Maiorsk (45km north-east of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, ten rocket-assisted projectiles in flight, an illumination flare in flight, a rocket-assisted projectile, an undetermined explosion, an illumination flare, 17 rocket-assisted projectiles, three illumination flares, 16 rocket-assisted projectiles, an undetermined explosion, three rocket-assisted projectiles, 11 tracer rounds in flight, four rocket-assisted projectiles, an undetermined explosion, a rocket-assisted projectile, an illumination flare, and ten rocket‑assisted projectiles, all at undetermined distances and directions.

On 11 October, positioned 2km south-east of government-controlled Lebedynske (16km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard and saw two explosions assessed as impacts of mortar rounds and heard two bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 4-5km east, and heard an explosion assessed as an outgoing mortar round 4-5km north-east.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including over 100 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (eight explosions).

On 11 October, positioned 1km north of government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk), the SMM heard 27 undetermined explosions 10km south-west.

The SMM followed up on a media report of a civilian casualty, a tractor driver (aged 47) injured near “LPR”-controlled Metalist (7km north-west of Luhansk) on 8 October following an explosion that occurred while he was working in a field. In Metalist, an employee of the agricultural company for which the tractor driver worked told the Mission that the plough of the tractor the man had been operating struck something which exploded, causing the man to suffer a concussion when his head struck the tractor’s cabin. The employee also claimed that the company had received a letter from an “LPR” demining unit stating that demining activities had been completed and the field in question had been cleared of explosives. On 10 October, two persons in Metalist and a senior employee of the agricultural company told the SMM that a non-fatal “incident” had occurred but refused to disclose further details. The SMM attempted to follow up with the injured man’s employer, relatives, and hospital staff in Luhansk – all of whom refused to provide the Mission with information.

The SMM followed up on reports from the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) of damage to civilian properties in a residential area. On 10 October, the SMM assessed damage to two apartment buildings in “DPR”-controlled Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk). At 93 Tsentralna Street, the SMM saw a window frame without glass and chips and divots to the west-facing exterior ground-floor wall of the building. Two-hundred metres south-east, at 11 Vatutina Street, the SMM saw a broken window on each of four different apartments on the south-west-facing side of the building’s first and second floors. The SMM did not see shrapnel or ammunition fragments at either site; several residents separately told the Mission that these had already been removed by “DPR” members. The SMM assessed the damage at the first location to have been caused by a 30mm projectile fired from a south-westerly direction and the damage at the second location from what was assessed as shrapnel of a 30mm projectile, also fired from a south-westerly direction. Residents at both locations told the SMM that the shooting had occurred between 04:15 and 04:45 on 10 October.

The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas near 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.*

On the evening of 9 October, the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded three projectiles and 25 tracer rounds, all in flight from west to east 1km west and assessed as inside the disengagement area.

In the early morning of 10 October, the SMM camera in government-controlled Zolote recorded a descending flare 3-5km east, assessed as outside the disengagement area.

On 11 October, positioned at the disengagement area near Petrivske, and in government-controlled Bohdanivka (41km south-west of Donetsk), west of the Petrivske disengagement area, the SMM observed calm situations.

On the evening of 11 October, while on the eastern edge of government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska, the SMM heard 75 undetermined explosions and saw clouds of smoke 6km south-west, assessed as outside the disengagement area.

On 11 October, positioned near the “LPR” checkpoint south of the Zolote disengagement area, the SMM observed a six-member demining team with mine detectors, mine probes, assault rifles, and pistols inside the disengagement area, working along the shoulders of the road leading north through the disengagement area. The SMM observed the deminers saluting a Russian Federation Armed Forces officer of the JCCC. At the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint north of the disengagement area, the SMM observed a Ukrainian Armed Forces demining team consisting of four members and their commander, who told the SMM that no activities other than an assessment would be conducted that day.

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 government-controlled areas an SMM mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted, on 10 October, 20 stationary self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) near Oleksandropil (43km north of Donetsk) and three stationary self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) near Zelene Pole (40km north-west of Donetsk).

Beyond the respective withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in government‑controlled areas, on 10 October, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted 13 stationary towed howitzers (D-20, 152mm) near Novoolenivka (48km north-west of Donetsk), as well as four stationary surface-to-air missile systems (9K35 Strela-10) and a stationary self-propelled anti-aircraft system (2K22 Tunguska) near Zelene Pole.

Close to a trench in a field about 20m south of a farm near government-controlled Pavlopil (84km south of Donetsk), the SMM saw, for the first time, an illumination flare affixed to a wooden stick wired to nearby shrubs.

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance works, co‑ordinated by the JCCC, to the power lines between government-controlled Klynove (68km north-east of Donetsk) and Novozvanivka (70km west of Luhansk), the thermal power plant in Shchastia, the Petrivske water pumping station near government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk), and the water pipeline between Zolote and government-controlled Popasna (69km west 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. 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.

Denial of access:

  • At the eastern edge of non-government-controlled Kozatske (36km north-east of Mariupol), an armed man in military-style clothing prevented the SMM from proceeding to non-government-controlled Porokhnia (40km north-east of Mariupol), citing orders from his “superiors”. The Mission informed the JCCC.

  • In non-government-controlled Kuznetsovo-Mykhailivka (67km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM was stopped by a group of 20 armed persons, one of whom demanded that the Mission depart the area immediately. The SMM left and moved to the western edge of the village. Fifteen minutes later, another individual approached the SMM and said that, due to a “special operation”, the patrol would not be able to proceed through the village for another hour. The Mission departed and informed the JCCC.

Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:

  • 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 Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM that no de-mining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.

  • The SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads in the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC at a checkpoint on the northern side of the Zolote disengagement area told the SMM that demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours, but only around the checkpoint. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.

  • The SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads south of the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. Armed “LPR” members positioned on the southern side of the Zolote disengagement area told the SMM that demining activities were underway. 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.

Delay:

  • Two persons in military-style clothing at a checkpoint west of “DPR”-controlled Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, 29km north-east of Mariupol) stopped the SMM and did not allow it to pass the checkpoint. Some 20 minutes thereafter, an armed individual allowed the SMM to proceed. The Mission informed the JCCC.

[1] **Please see the annexed report 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”.

Contacts
Mariia Aleksevych
Senior Press Assistant
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine
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