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

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous reporting period. The SMM continued monitoring all three disengagement areas. It recorded ceasefire violations inside the Petrivske and near the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement areas. The SMM facilitated and monitored demining activities inside the Zolote disengagement area as part of a preparatory work to clear the road and open a new entry-exit checkpoint. The Mission’s access remained restricted in the disengagement areas and elsewhere, including in a heavy weapons holding area in an area not controlled by the Government in Donetsk region.* The SMM saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near Novoselivka and Novoamvrosiivske. It facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance to the thermal power plant in Shchastia, as well as demining activities in the area of a gas distribution station near Marinka.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations,[1] including about 60 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 120 explosions).

On the evening of 11 October, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard three shots of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2, 30mm) cannon fire and 14 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 3-7km north-west, as well as three shots of small-arms fire 2-3km south.

On the night of 11-12 October, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 35 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 4-5km south-south-east.

In the early morning hours on 12 October, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded an undetermined explosion at an unknown distance north.

On the night of 11-12 October, the SMM camera at the entry-exit checkpoint in government‑controlled Maiorsk (45km north-east of Donetsk) recorded an undetermined explosion at an unknown distance and direction.

During the day on 12 October, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded an explosion assessed as an outgoing round from an undetermined weapon 1-2km south.

Positioned on the south-western edge of government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard four undetermined explosions 3-5km south.

Positioned at the central railway station in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city (6km north-west of Donetsk city centre) the SMM heard three undetermined explosions 5-8km north-west and north.

Positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for almost five hours, the SMM heard 17 explosions all 1-5km west-south-west and west.

Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yenakiieve (41km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 22 undetermined explosions 6-8km west.

Positioned about 4km south-west of “DPR”-controlled Kaiutyne (47km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard five undetermined explosions 6-8km west.

Positioned 4km north-west of “DPR”-controlled Manuilivka (65km east of Donetsk), the SMM heard and saw two explosions assessed as outgoing mortar (82mm) rounds 100m south (assessed as part of a live-fire exercise outside the security zone).

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

On 12 October, positioned in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk), the SMM heard six undetermined explosions 2-3km south-south-east.

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 night of 10-11 October, the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded, in sequence, a projectile in flight from south to north and an undetermined explosion and 11 projectiles in flight from west to east, all 1-3km south-west and assessed as inside the disengagement area.

On the evening of 11 October, while on the eastern edge of government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska, the SMM heard four shots of small-arms fire 2km east, assessed as outside the disengagement area. On the night of 11-12 October, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 8-10km south-west, assessed as outside the disengagement area.

On the night of 11-12 October, the SMM camera in government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska recorded two explosions assessed as outgoing rounds from undetermined weapons, 6km south-south-east, assessed as outside the disengagement area.

On 12 October, the SMM facilitated and monitored demining activities inside the disengagement area near government-controlled Zolote as part of a preparatory work to clear the road and open a new entry-exit checkpoint near Zolote.

Positioned near the “LPR” checkpoint south of the Zolote disengagement area, at 08:45, the SMM saw five armed persons carrying metal detectors, ten unarmed persons, a tractor, as well as a lawn mower. From the same location, the SMM saw them cut bushes and grass along the road leading to a bridge inside the disengagement area located between the “LPR” checkpoint and the government checkpoint. At about 12:45, they told the SMM that they were unable to continue mowing the field because the grass was too wet.

Positioned near the government checkpoint north of the Zolote disengagement area, the SMM saw at 09:30 six armed Ukrainian Armed Forces deminers carrying metal detectors enter the disengagement area. (See SMM Daily Report 12 October 2017.)

Positioned north of the Zolote disengagement area, between 10:33 and 13:12, the SMM heard five explosions 150m-3km south-south-east, assessed as controlled detonations inside the disengagement area, and an explosion 3-5km south east, assessed as a controlled detonation outside the disengagement area.

At about 10:20, positioned in “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard an explosion 1.5km north, assessed as a controlled detonation inside the Zolote 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 withdrawal lines in areas outside of government control, the SMM saw four multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) near Novoamvrosiivske (56km east of Donetsk). An SMM mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted, on 10 October, five self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), three anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) and ten tanks (T-64), all stationary near Novoselivka (37km north-east of Donetsk).

Beyond the respective withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in government‑controlled areas, the SMM saw two tanks (T-72) on a flat-bed trailer heading west near Hranitne (25km north of Mariupol) and a tank (T-72) loaded on a truck (Kamaz) heading west near Pervomaiske (23km north-west of Mariupol).

The SMM observed weapons that could not be verified as withdrawn, as their storage did not comply with the criteria set out in the 16 October 2015 notification from the SMM to the signatories of the Package of Measures on effective monitoring and verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons. In areas outside of government control, the SMM observed six towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm). The SMM noted that a towed howitzer (2A65), two self-propelled howitzers (2S1), and six anti-tank guns (MT-12) continued to be absent. An armed “DPR” member denied the SMM access to part of a compound citing orders from his superiors.*

The SMM revisited “DPR” permanent storage sites whose locations were beyond withdrawal lines and observed as missing 20 tanks (eight T-64 and 12 T-72), nine mortars (2B14 Podnos, 82mm) and 15 anti-tank guns (MT-12).

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles (ACV),[2] and other indications of military presence in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw an armoured personnel carrier (APC) (BRDM-2) heading west and an ACV (BTR-4) heading south near Umanske (25km north-west of Donetsk); a stationary ACV (BTR-4) in Karlivka (25km north-west of Donetsk); and an ACV[3] (BTR-4) heading east near Orlivka (22km north-west of Donetsk). In areas outside of government control, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted, on 10 October, three IFVs (BMP-1) and two APCs (MT-LB) near Novoselivka.

An SMM mid-range UAV spotted, on 11 October, two newly dug extensions of trenches near government-controlled Vodiane (19km north-east of Mariupol). The first segment, located about 150m south-east of Vodiane, had been extended by about 20m east (compared to previous observations in July 2017). The second one, located about 700m east of Vodiane, had been newly built and it extended 200m west. The distance between the two segments is about 400m.

The SMM observed presence of mines. An SMM mid-range UAV spotted again, on 11 October, 13 anti-tank mines on road T0519 on the western outskirts of “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol), as well as 11 anti-tank mines 1.5km west on the same road. (See Daily Report 10 October 2017.)

The SMM observed demining activity. On 12 October, the SMM saw five unarmed persons with mine detectors clear six anti-tank mines on road C051114 between the government-controlled checkpoint on road H15 south-east of Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk) and a gas distribution centre 600m north.

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance works, co‑ordinated by the Joint Centre for Control and Co-operation (JCCC) to the thermal power plant in Shchastia. The SMM, in co-ordination with the JCCC, also facilitated and monitored demining activities in the area around a gas station near Marinka in order to restore the local gas distribution. Following demining activities (see above), an engineer and a technician were able to enter the station for the first time since April 2015. (See SMM Daily Report 21 July 2017.)

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:

An armed “DPR” member denied the SMM access to part of a compound in a heavy weapons holding area citing orders from his superiors. The SMM 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.

[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.

[2] This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.

[3] This ACV was moving at slow speed and hit the back side of an SMM vehicle, causing minor damage to the SMM vehicle. The SMM informed the JCCC. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC arrived at the location to assess the damage.

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