Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 13 December 2017

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This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region, but more in Luhansk region, compared with the previous reporting period. The SMM heard artillery fire and saw muzzle flashes less than 500m from the SMM’s forward patrol base in government-controlled Popasna (see SMM Spot Report 13 December 2017). The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded ceasefire violations in the Petrivske disengagement area. Its access remained restricted in the disengagement areas and elsewhere.* The SMM assessed impact sites in residential areas of Kadiivka and Pervomaisk. It followed up on reports of a casualty in Luhansk city. It facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance of essential infrastructure in Zalizne, Betmanove and Artema. The SMM visited two areas of the border outside of government control.

In Donetsk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations,[1] including about 520 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 1,120 explosions).

While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) on the evening of 12 December, the SMM heard 62 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds 4-5km north-west, 28 explosions assessed as impacts of artillery rounds 9-10km west-north-west, nine undetermined explosions 3-6km south-east and 4-10km west, four explosions assessed as impacts of recoilless gun (SPG-9, 73mm) rounds 3-5km south and heavy-machine-gun, small-arms and infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) fire 4-5km west and 1-5km south-east. At the same location on 13 December, the SMM heard 18 explosions (ten undetermined and eight explosions assessed as impacts of recoilless gun rounds (SPG-9)) and heavy-machine-gun-fire, all 4-5km south-west and 2-4km south-east.

On the night of 12-13 December, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, eight projectiles in flight from east to west, an undetermined explosion and 20 projectiles from west to east, followed by a total of 71 undetermined explosions, 175 projectiles and eight tracer rounds from east to west, 120 projectiles and 12 tracer rounds from west to east, 17 projectiles from south-west to north-west, 11 from south-west to north-east, five from south to north, one from north to south, 26 from north-east to south-west, eight from north-west to south-east and two projectiles in vertical flight, all 0.5-1.5km south.

On the night of 12 December, the SMM camera 1km south-west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded 33 tracer rounds and three projectiles in flight from east to west 5-8km north.

Positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), for about six hours, the SMM heard 77 undetermined explosions 3-5km north-west, 2-6km north-east, 1-7km west, and 2-5km south-west; 55 explosions assessed as outgoing rounds 2-4km north-east and heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, including seven minutes of overlapping bursts and shots of small-arms fire 2-6km west.

Positioned in government-controlled Verkhnotoretske (23km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 64 undetermined explosions 4-7km south and small-arms fire 2-4km south-east.

Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Betmanove (formerly Krasnyi Partizan, 23km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 17 explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of undetermined weapons 5km south-east, six explosions assessed as impacts of mortar (82mm) rounds 5km north-west, three explosions assessed as impacts of mortar (82mm) rounds 5km north-west and bursts of small-arms fire 300-400m north-west.

Positioned 2.5km west of government-controlled Novoselivka Druha (23km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard 15 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds 10km west and six explosions assessed as outgoing mortar (120mm) rounds 5km east.

Positioned in government-controlled Chermalyk (31km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard 11 undetermined explosions and heavy-machine-gun fire, all 1-3km south and south-east.

Positioned 1.6km west-north-west of “DPR”-controlled Mospyne (24km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard bursts and shots of small-arms fire 2-4km north-west (assessed as a live-fire exercise).

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including almost 1,100 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 45 explosions).

On the night of 12-13 December, the SMM heard artillery fire and saw muzzle flashes less than 500m from the SMM’s forward patrol base in government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk). (See SMM Spot Report 13 December 2017.) At around 10:30 on 13 December, the SMM left the forward patrol base and reached Sievierodonetsk safely. The SMM has since returned to its forward patrol base in Popasna. The SMM informed the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) and asked it to follow up on the incident.

On the night of 12-13 December, while in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard over 850 explosions – including impacts and outgoing rounds – 2-15km north-west and west and 5-15km north-east.

Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Raivka (16km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 69 undetermined explosions about 10km north and 15km north-west.

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 11 December, the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded five tracer rounds in flight from north-east to south-west 800m-1km south, two tracer rounds from west to east at an unknown distance south-south-west, an illumination flare in flight from east to west 500m west, two tracer rounds in flight from south-west to north-east at an unknown distance west-south-west (all of which the SMM was unable to assess if inside or outside the disengagement area) and two bursts of tracer rounds in flight from west to east (and muzzle flashes) 500m-1km south-west (assessed as inside the disengagement area).

Positioned in Petrivske on 13 December, the SMM heard shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 3-5km south and 4-5km north-north-west (assessed as outside the disengagement area). Positioned about 2km north of Petrivske, the SMM heard six minutes of uncountable overlapping bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire and five undetermined explosions 3-5km south (all assessed as outside the disengagement area).

Positioned at the railway station in the north-west of Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM heard three undetermined explosions 4-10km south, south-west and west and heavy-machine-gun fire 2-3km south and west (all assessed as outside the disengagement area).

The SMM assessed impact sites in residential areas of Kadiivka and Pervomaisk. Accompanied by Russian Federation Armed Forces officers of the JCCC, the SMM saw fresh damage to a house at 7 Kovalenko Street in “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk). It observed that the north-facing part of the roof and north- and west-facing roof space had been damaged so severely that the ceiling had collapsed into the kitchen and two interior walls that supported the kitchen had collapsed. In addition, the SMM observed that parts of the north- and west-facing external supporting walls had been badly damaged and that bricks had been displaced from the wall into the garden. The SMM saw that three north- and west-facing windows had been broken and that their wooden frames had been damaged; an exterior door had been destroyed and another interior door in the kitchen had been badly damaged as well. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by an artillery shell (152mm) fired from a northerly direction, directly impacting the roof. The SMM saw an “LPR” armed formation compound about 100m away from the impact site.

The SMM observed that a utility building located 4m north of the house had sustained damage to the south-facing side of the roof and that the south-facing wall had bricks missing; the door and the window had been broken as well. The SMM also observed shrapnel fragments in the yard next to the house. The owners of the house (a man and woman, aged about 60) told the SMM that there were two impacts within seconds of one another at 00:30 on 13 December. They said that they had been at home with their daughter (aged about 35) and two granddaughters (aged 14 and 4) and that they had been trapped in the living room when the kitchen ceiling collapsed. They told the SMM that no one had been injured.

Also in Pervomaisk, the SMM observed a fresh crater on soft ground about 15m east of apartment building no. 5 in the “60 Years of USSR” compound. The SMM observed that at least 15 apartments on the west-facing side of the building had broken windows. The SMM assessed that the crater was caused by an artillery shell (152mm) fired from a south-south-westerly direction. The SMM saw “LPR” positions in the area, the nearest one about 500m from the impact site.

At building no. 6 in the same compound, the SMM observed that the roof of the building had been hit and that part of the ceiling had collapsed into and destroyed one room in the apartment. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by an artillery shell (152mm) fired from a south-south-westerly direction. The owners (a couple in their sixties) told the SMM that the building was struck during the night of 13 December. They said that no one had been injured.

At 29 Nikitina Street in Kadiivka, the SMM saw that the windows on the west-facing side of a house had been shattered. The SMM also observed six electricians repairing a 50m-long stretch of power line nearby. A man (aged about 35) who said he lived on the street told the SMM that he had heard an explosion at about midnight on 12-13 December. He said no one had been injured. The SMM saw an “LPR” barracks about 400m from the impact site.

The SMM followed up on reports that a man had been injured by a grenade in Luhansk city. At an apartment at 5 Druzhby district, the SMM observed a damaged window (glass missing and only parts of the frame remaining). Three residents (women aged 50-65) said that the man (who they said was born in 1966) was injured in an explosion on 10 December. At the Regional Hospital in Luhansk city, medical staff told the SMM that the man had had his arm amputated at the elbow and had sustained other major injuries.

At a hospital in “DPR”-controlled Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk) the SMM spoke to a woman (aged 60-65), who doctors said had a bruise on her head. She told the SMM that she been injured in an explosion outside the market at the intersection of Vatutina and Tsentralna streets in the town at about 11:45 on 12 December. At the site the SMM saw broken branches that it assessed as caused by an explosion.

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 the withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites in non-government-controlled areas, the SMM observed two stationary tanks (T-72) in a firing range and heard live-fire exercises near Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk); it also saw nine stationary tanks (two T-64 and the rest not determined) near Kruhlyk (31km south-west of Luhansk).

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance work, co-ordinated by the JCCC, to the water pipeline near government-controlled Zalizne (formerly Artemove, 42km north-east of Donetsk), to the water pumping station near government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk), and to a power line near Betmanove. The repair of the power line near Betmanove was interrupted due to ceasefire violations in the area. The SMM also facilitated demining and the clearance of vegetation near the Maiorsk entry-exit checkpoint (45km north-east of Donetsk).

The SMM visited two areas of the border outside government control. At the border crossing point near Verkhnoharasymivka (57km south-east of Luhansk) during about 30 minutes, the SMM saw four pedestrians (three men and a woman, aged about 60) exiting Ukraine and 12 pedestrians (eight women, four men, aged about 50) entering Ukraine.

At the border crossing point near Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk) during about an hour, the SMM observed that the waiting time for vehicles to cross was longer than usual. It also saw about 90 vehicles – an unusually large number – in a queue to exit Ukraine. Two drivers told the SMM that they had been waiting to cross for six hours. During its presence, the SMM observed 120 pedestrians (around 40 per cent men and 60 per cent women, aged 20-60), one bus, five covered cargo trucks and one empty car carrier truck exiting Ukraine. It also observed 60 pedestrians (about 40 per cent men and 60 per cent women, aged 20-60 and three children), ten cars, two covered trucks and two buses (each carrying about 60 passengers) entering Ukraine.

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