Ukraine

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

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The SMM recorded a similar number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and more in Luhansk region compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission followed up on reports of a civilian casualty from Dokuchaievsk. The SMM observed damage to a powerline in Avdiivka resulting in a lack of electricity in central Avdiivka. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske and recorded ceasefire violations near all three. Its access remained restricted there and elsewhere, including near Debaltseve and Kozatske.* The SMM saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near Miusynsk. The Mission facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance of essential infrastructure near Artema and Zalizne. The SMM visited four border areas outside of government control.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded a similar number of ceasefire violations,[1] including, however, more explosions (about 1,120), compared with the previous reporting period (about 1,000 explosions).

On the evening and night of 11-12 December, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, an undetermined explosion, 30 projectiles in flight from west to east, two undetermined explosions, a projectile in flight from east to west, five undetermined explosions, followed by a total of 65 undetermined explosions and 198 projectiles (118 from east to west, 53 from west to east, 13 from north-west to south-east, eight from north-east to south-west, four from south-east to north-west and two from south-west to north-east), all 0.5-1.5km south. On 12 December, the same camera recorded, in sequence, nine projectiles from east to west, an undetermined explosion, three projectiles from west to east, an undetermined explosion, followed by a total of 11 undetermined explosions, 160 projectiles (96 from west to east and 64 from east to west), an airburst and an illumination flare in vertical flight, all 0.5-1.5km south.

During the day on 12 December, positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about six hours, the SMM heard 43 undetermined explosions and about 550 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 1-5km at directions ranging from south-west to north.

On the evening and night of 11-12 December, the SMM camera near the entry-exit checkpoint near government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, a projectile in flight from east to west, three undetermined explosions, an illumination flare in vertical flight and a tracer round in flight from east to west, all at unknown distances 2-3km north.

On the evening of 11 December, the SMM camera at the entry-exit checkpoint in government‑controlled Maiorsk (45km north-east of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, two tracer rounds in flight from south-east to north-west, an undetermined explosion, four tracer rounds from west to east, nine undetermined explosions, an illumination flare in vertical flight, five undetermined explosions, 60 tracer rounds from west to east, 25 tracer rounds from east to west, followed by a total of 21 undetermined explosions, 40 tracer rounds (30 from west to east and ten from east to west) and 16 projectiles in flight from east to west, all at unknown distances 2-3km east-south-east.

On the evening of 11 December, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 80 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds 2-5km north (and their subsequent impacts 4-5km south-west and 6-8km south-east), as well as 83 explosions assessed as mortar rounds and impacts of artillery rounds, about 30 minutes of uncountable overlapping explosions assessed as infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-1) cannon (73mm) rounds and bursts and shots of IFV (BMP-2) cannon (30mm), heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, and about 100 bursts and shots of IFV (BMP-2) cannon, heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 4-8km at directions ranging from south-east to south-west. During the day on 12 December, while at the same location, the SMM heard 15 undetermined explosions 4-5km south and south-west.

On the evening of 11 December, while in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk) for about five hours, the SMM heard about 400 undetermined explosions and 15 minutes of uncountable overlapping undetermined explosions 2-3km west-north-west, as well as small-arms fire 100-500m east and east-south-east. On the morning of 12 December, while at the same location, the SMM heard 12 undetermined explosions 3-4km north-west and north-north-west.

On the evening of 11 December, the SMM camera 1km south-west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, in sequence, 27 tracer rounds and nine projectiles in flight from east to west, 15 tracer rounds from east to west, five tracer rounds from west to east and 11 tracer rounds from east to west, all 5-8km north. On 12 December, the same camera recorded two undetermined explosions 5-8km north.

On 12 December, positioned about 3km south-east of “DPR”-controlled Sakhanka (24km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard 11 undetermined explosions at unknown distances north-west.

On 12 December, positioned 1km north-north-west of the entry-exit checkpoint in government-controlled Pyshchevyk (25km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard about 140 undetermined explosions at unknown distances south-south-east and south.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including, however, a similar number of explosions (about 45), compared with the previous reporting period (about 50 explosions).

On the evening of 11 December, while on the northern edge of government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 25 explosions assessed as artillery rounds and heavy-machine-gun fire 5km south.

On 12 December, positioned on the north-western edge of “LPR”-controlled Depreradivka 65km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard ten undetermined explosions and heavy-machine-gun fire 3-5km west-north-west.

The SMM followed up on reports of a civilian casualty. Medical staff at a hospital in “DPR”-controlled Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk) told the SMM that a man (aged 62) had been admitted to the hospital at 12:15 on 12 December with shrapnel wounds, and that he was about to have surgery. While at the hospital, the man’s son (in his forties) said that his father had been in the yard of their house at 8 Furmanova Street in Dokuchaievsk at about 11:15, repairing windows that had been damaged a few days before by shelling. He added that his father had been struck by shrapnel, injuring his back, both hands and legs after something had hit the corner of the house. The SMM had visited 8 Furmanova Street on 9 December and had seen two holes and fresh shrapnel damage to the west-facing wall of the house. (See SMM Daily Report 10 December 2017.)

The SMM assessed damage to a powerline caused by shelling, accompanied by the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC). In government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk), the SMM saw a fresh crater between two pylons and saw that a power line, 15-20m south-east of the crater, had been cut. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by a projectile fired from a south-south-westerly direction. The SMM saw employees of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine remove remnants from the crater which, when shown to the SMM, it assessed to be fragments, including a fuse, and part of a tube of a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) (BM21 Grad, 122mm) round. On 11 December, the SMM observed that there had been no electricity in the central part of Avdiivka. (See SMM Daily Report 12 December 2017.) On 12 December, the SMM observed that the central part of Avdiivka was still without electricity.

The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, 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 11 December, while on the eastern edge of government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska, the SMM heard 17 shots of small-arms fire 3-4km south-east, south and south-west (unable to assess whether inside or outside the disengagement area).

On the night of 10-11 December, the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded two tracer rounds in flight from east to west at unknown distances south (unable to assess whether inside or outside the disengagement area).

During the day on 12 December, positioned on the eastern edge of government-controlled Bohdanivka (41km south-west of Donetsk), west of the Petrivske disengagement area, the SMM heard five undetermined explosions 3-5km north-west (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

Positioned in government-controlled Zolote-4 (60km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard ten shots of small-arms fire 150-300m north and east (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

On 10 December, an SMM mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted at least 164 anti-tank mines (TM-62) – including 126 laid in three rows in a field 90m east of road T1316, eight in a row in a field 100m east of the road, 17 in two rows in a field 70m west of the road and 13 in two rows on the eastern side of the road – all inside the Zolote disengagement area within 100-400m of its northern edge. The same UAV also spotted at least 29 anti-tank mines (TM-62) – including 15 laid in three rows and one nearby in a field 130m north-east of the road, eight in a row 80m west of the road and five in a row 50m west of the road – and three probable anti-tank mines on the eastern side of the road, all inside the Zolote disengagement area within 300-700m of its southern edge. The SMM has previously observed anti-tank mines (TM-62) inside the disengagement area (See SMM Daily Report 20 October 2017.) The UAV also spotted two probable IFVs (BMP-2) and at least 12 anti-tank mines (TM-62) near a government checkpoint just north of the disengagement area, as well as a Kamaz truck mounted with an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) just south of the disengagement area near an “LPR” checkpoint on its southern edge.

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 a non-government-controlled area, aerial imagery revealed on 10 December the presence of 14 MLRS (type unknown) about 6km south-east of Miusynsk (62km south-west of Luhansk).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in non-government-controlled areas, aerial imagery revealed on 10 December the presence of 22 pieces of self-propelled artillery, 12 pieces of towed artillery, and 12 tanks – all type unknown – about 6km south-east of Miusynsk. On 11 December, aerial imagery revealed the presence of 32 tanks (type unknown) about 2km north-east of Kruhlyk (31km south-west of Luhansk), nine more than were present on 19 October. (See SMM Daily Report 2 November 2017.)

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 19 towed howitzers (12 2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm and seven 2A65 Msta-B, 152mm), two surface-to-air missile systems (9K33 Osa) and four MLRS (BM21), and noted that 76 towed howitzers (58 2A65 and 18 2A36), ten mortars (four 2B9 Vasilek, 82mm and six 2B11 Sani, 120mm) and 24 anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) were again missing.

The SMM revisited a Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage site whose location was beyond withdrawal lines and noted that 20 tanks (T-72) and six mortars (M120-15 Molot, 120mm) were again missing.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles[2] and other indications of military presence in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw three IFVs (BMP-2) near Popasna and a reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) behind a residential house in Pavlopil (26km north-east of Mariupol). In an area outside of government control, the SMM saw five IFVs (BMP-1) next to residential houses in Nova Marivka (64km south of Donetsk).

Near the Donetsk Filtration Station, aerial imagery revealed on 10 December about 16 impacts south-east of the station (with the nearest impact as close as 200m), assessed to have occurred between 16 and 28 November.

The SMM continued to follow up on reports that “DPR”-controlled Mospyne (24km south-east of Donetsk) had been cordoned off by armed persons. (See SMM Daily Report 12 December 2017.) On 12 December, the SMM did not see any armed persons in Mospyne, and noted pedestrians and vehicles moving normally. A group of five women (aged 30-50) told the SMM that the village had been sealed off by armed persons “wearing masks” from around midnight on 10 December for about 24hours. They said that two new checkpoints had been opened temporarily at the southern and northern entrances to the village. One of the women said that on 11 December, at the southern entrance to the village, she had been prevented from entering Mospyne to go to work by a masked man in military-style clothes, holding a gun. On 12 December, the SMM noted that there were no checkpoints at these locations.