Ukraine

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

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This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region compared with the previous reporting period, and no ceasefire violations in Luhansk region. The Mission observed damage to residential properties from shelling in Dovhe. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded ceasefire violations inside the Petrivske disengagement area. Its access remained restricted in the disengagement areas and elsewhere, including near Yasynuvata and Mineralne.* The SMM attempted to reach Travneve but was unable to do so due to the possible presence of mines or unexploded ordnance on the road leading to the village. It facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance of essential infrastructure in Shchastia, and near Krasnyi Lyman and Vesela Hora. The SMM visited three border areas not under government control. The Mission observed incidents at a public gathering in Kyiv.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations,[1] including, however, fewer explosions (about 100), compared with the previous reporting period (about 110 explosions).

On the evening and night of 29-30 November, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, 17 projectiles in flight from east to west, an undetermined explosion, 11 projectiles from east to west, an undetermined explosion, a projectile from east to west, five undetermined explosions, and a projectile from east to west, all 0.5-1.5km south.

On the evening of 29 November, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded five projectiles from west to east, seven projectiles from east to west, and an undetermined explosion, all 5-8km north.

During the day on 30 November, positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for over five hours, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions and nearly 100 bursts and shots of small-arms fire, all 1-7km west and north.

On the evening of 29 November, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 70 undetermined explosions as well as heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 2-5km south-east and south, and 24 explosions assessed as rounds of multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) 4-5km north-east.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded no ceasefire violations during the reporting period.

The SMM followed up on a report from an “LPR” member of damage to residential properties from shelling. Near 2 Myrna Street in “LPR”-controlled Dovhe (22km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM saw two impact sites: the first one, a one-metre crater about 20m north of a house at 2 Myrna Street, and the second, about 50cm in diameter and 10-15m north of the first impact. The SMM saw that a fence north of the house and about a metre from the first impact site had boards knocked out of place, and the branch of a tree some 25m west of the house had been freshly severed. The SMM assessed the first crater to have been caused by the impact of an 82mm mortar round fired from a northerly direction and the second to have been caused by a round of a recoilless gun, also fired from a northerly direction. The “LPR” member said the damage had occurred on 27 November.

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 30 November, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske, the SMM heard a burst and 53 shots of small-arms fire 2-3km south-south-west, assessed as inside the disengagement area, as well as five bursts of small-arms fire 1.5km south-south-east, assessed as outside the disengagement area. The same day, positioned at the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska and Zolote, the SMM observed calm situations.

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons, in implementation of the Package of Measures and its Addendum, as well as the Memorandum.

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, the SMM observed four tanks (T-72) loaded on north-west-bound flatbed trucks near government-controlled Lysychansk (75km north-west of Luhansk).

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 government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM saw a surface-to-air missile system (9K35 Strela-10, 120mm), eight MLRS (9P138 Grad-1, 122mm), three self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), and two towed mortars (2B9 Vasilek, 82mm); and noted as missing a surface-to-air missile system (9K35), 15 MLRS (11 BM-21 and four 9P138), and four self-propelled howitzers (2S1).

The SMM revisited a permanent storage site beyond respective withdrawal lines in a non-government-controlled area of Luhansk region and noted that four tanks (T-72) were still missing.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles[2], military-type armoured vehicles and new trenches in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw a stationary armoured personnel carrier (APC) (BTR-80) in Stanytsia Luhanska. Aerial imagery revealed the presence on 28 November of eight military-type armoured vehicles near Svitlodarsk and two military-type armoured vehicles near Troitske (69km west of Luhansk).

In areas outside of government control, the SMM saw nine stationary infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) (BMP-1) and an APC (MT-LB) parked next to residential houses in Nova Marivka (64km south of Donetsk), and approximately 25m of trenches no more than five days old near Zaichenko (26km north-east of Mariupol). Aerial imagery revealed the presence on 28 November of a probable military-type armoured vehicle by the railway station in Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk).

The Mission was again prevented from proceeding to Travneve (51km north-east of Donetsk) due to the possible presence of mines or unexploded ordnance (UXO) on the road.* (See SMM Daily Report 30 November 2017.) A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) in Travneve told the SMM that Ukrainian Armed Forces de-miners were present in Travneve but would not proceed along the road towards “DPR”-controlled Holmivskyi (49km north-east of Donetsk) unless accompanied by the SMM. The SMM is unable to reach Travneve due to the aforementioned possible presence of mines and UXO and the lack of alternative paved access roads. The SMM informed the Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC that, accompanied by “DPR” de-miners, it would be able to reach the halfway point on the road between Travneve and the SMM’s position at the northern edge of Holmivskyi, which would allow it visual contact with any Ukrainian Armed Forces de-miners proceeding from Travneve (the entire stretch of road is no more than 800m), but this was not accepted by the Ukrainian Armed Forces de-miners, according to the Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC, and thus the SMM was unable to reach Travneve. While in Holmivskyi, the SMM observed some 15 people going between Travneve and Holmivskyi. Aerial imagery revealed the presence on 28 November of fresh weapon impacts near a “DPR” checkpoint at the northern edge of Holmivskyi, as well as fresh vehicle tracks leading to Hladosove (51km north-east of Donetsk) and Travneve from nearby Ukrainian Armed Forces positions north of these villages.

The SMM continued to observe mine signs and demining activity. The SMM saw ten de-miners of an international organization wearing protective equipment and using metal detectors south-east of government-controlled Myrna Dolyna (67km north-west of Luhansk). On road T0509, 6km north of “DPR”-controlled Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed a newly placed mine sign (a red sign on a red stick with “STOP MINES” written in Russian in white letters on it) about 7m south of the road. One kilometre north-west along the same road, the SMM saw two mine signs (red signs with a white skull and “STOP MINES” written in Russian in white letters on them), 20-30 meters south-west of the roadway.

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance work, co‑ordinated by the JCCC, to the thermal power plant in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk), water wells near “LPR”-controlled Krasnyi Lyman (30km north-west of Luhansk), and a power substation near “LPR”-controlled Vesela Hora (16km north of Luhansk).

The SMM visited three border areas not under government control. During an hour at a border crossing point near Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM observed 33 cars (20 with Ukrainian, eight with Russian Federation, two with Lithuanian and one with Georgian licence plates, and two with “LPR” plates), a bus with Ukrainian licence plates, and about 100 pedestrians, exiting Ukraine, as well as 19 cars (nine with Ukrainian and seven with Russian Federation licence plates, and three with “LPR” plates); three covered cargo trucks with Ukrainian licence plates, a bus with Ukrainian licence plates, and about 100 pedestrians entering Ukraine.

During 30 minutes at a border crossing point near Verkhnoharasymivka (54km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM observed five pedestrians exiting Ukraine and two pedestrians entering Ukraine.

During 30 minutes at a pedestrian border crossing point near Novoborovytsi (79km south of Luhansk), the SMM observed no trans-border traffic.

In Kyiv, the SMM observed a gathering to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the Maidan events. On the evening of 29 November the SMM saw about 60 people (all ages, 70 per cent men) gathering in Independence Square to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the Maidan events as well as about 100 police and riot police officers. The participants lit torches and marched up Heroiv Nebesnoi Sotni Alley and Instytutska Street, where they were joined by 50 men dressed in black (some with balaclavas) wearing patches of the Donbas battalion and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. The SMM saw participants throwing flares at police officers. The participants continued towards the Ministry of Internal Affairs building, followed by about 200 police officers. Another 100 police officers were seen standing outside the ministry building. Also outside the ministry building, some of the participants gave speeches, and others were seen lighting up flares and smokescreens. The participants wearing black outfits marched towards the Parliament building. When one of these tried to set up a small tent, police officers intervened, which led to multiple small clashes and participants throwing flares, firecrackers and snowballs at police. The SMM observed a participant being detained by police. When the SMM departed about 20 minutes later, a dozen participants remained near the ministry building.

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