Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 14 December 2017

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The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission assessed impact sites in residential areas in Dokuchaievsk, Luhanske and Horlivka. In Kalynove-Borshchuvate, the SMM observed damage to a power line caused by shelling. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske and recorded ceasefire violations inside the Petrivske disengagement area. Its access remained restricted in the disengagement areas and elsewhere.* The Ukrainian Armed Forces representative to the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) shared with the SMM a letter from the Russian Federation informing Ukraine about the Russian Federation’s intention to withdraw its Armed Forces officers from the JCCC. The SMM saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near Oleksandropil. The Mission followed up on the situation of civilians living in Travneve and Hladosove; it heard that electricity was supplied to Travneve and Hladosove and that the regular bus service between Travneve and Novoluhanske had resumed. The SMM facilitated and monitored repairs to a power line in Avdiivka and observed the completion of the repairs. It also facilitated and monitored repairs of essential infrastructure near Zalizne, Artema and Vesela Hora. The SMM visited a border area outside of government control.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations,[1] including about 330 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 520 explosions).

On the evening and night of 13-14 December, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, an undetermined explosion, six projectiles in flight from east to west and two projectiles from west to east, followed by a total of 24 undetermined explosions and five projectiles (three from west to east and two from east to west), all 0.5-1.5km south. In the early evening of 14 December, the same camera recorded, in sequence, seven projectiles in flight from east to west and four projectiles from west to east, followed by a total of two undetermined explosions, an illumination flare in flight from east to west and ten projectiles (seven from east to west and three from west to east), all 0.5-1.5km south.

During the day on 14 December, positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about six and a half hours, the SMM heard about 50 undetermined explosions and about 100 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 1-4km south-west and west.

Positioned on the south-western edge of government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard five undetermined explosions and small-arms fire, all 2-5km at directions ranging from east to south.

Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Holmivskyi (49km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard three undetermined explosions 2-3km north-north-east, two undetermined explosions 2-3km north-west, and five undetermined explosions 3-6km north-west – all assessed as having occurred near government-controlled Travneve and Hladosove (both 51km north-east of Donetsk), areas around which the SMM had previously observed military presence. (See SMM Daily Report 7 December 2017.)

Positioned in government-controlled Novoluhanske (53km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard an explosion assessed as an outgoing artillery (122mm) round 5km north-west and its subsequent impact 3km south-west, as well as 13 undetermined explosions and ten minutes of uncountable overlapping bursts and shots of small-arms fire, all 3-8km at directions ranging from south-east to south-west.

On the evening and night of 13-14 December, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard over 100 undetermined explosions and about 210 bursts of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) and heavy-machine-gun fire, all 4-8km at directions ranging from east to south. During the day on 14 December, while at the same location, the SMM heard almost 100 explosions (six assessed as outgoing artillery rounds and the remainder undetermined) and about 80 bursts of IFV (BMP-2) cannon and heavy-machine-gun fire, all 4-7km at directions ranging from east to south.

On the evening of 13 December, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard six undetermined explosions 6-10km south-west, and small-arms fire 3-5km south-west.

On the evening and night of 13-14 December, the SMM camera 1km south-west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, in sequence, five projectiles in flight from east to west, an undetermined explosion, six projectiles from east to west and a projectile from west to east, followed by a total of 11 undetermined explosions and 162 projectiles (119 from east to west and 43 from west to east), all 5-8km north. On 14 December, the same camera recorded, in sequence, 11 projectiles in flight from east to west, two undetermined explosions and two projectiles from west to east, followed by a total of 24 projectiles (14 from west to east and ten from east to west), all 5-8km north.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including 28 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (almost 1,100 explosions).

During the day on 14 December, positioned on the southern edge of government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard five explosions assessed as artillery rounds 6-8km south-east.

Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Kalynove (60km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 12 undetermined explosions 4-6km west-north-west, five explosions assessed as outgoing rounds 2-4km west, and ten shots of small-arms fire 2km west.

While in the city centre of “LPR”-controlled Luhansk, the SMM heard three bursts of small-arms fire 1km south-east, assessed as live-fire training inside the security zone, in violation of the decision of the Trilateral Contact Group of 3 March 2016 prohibiting the conduct of live-fire training (exercises) in the security zone.

On 13 December, the SMM assessed impact sites in residential areas in “DPR”-controlled Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk), government-controlled Luhanske (59km north-east of Donetsk) and Horlivka.

In Dokuchaievsk, at 8 Furmanova Street, the SMM saw two broken south-west-facing windows of a single-storey house (both of which were covered with plastic sheeting), a south-west-facing wall with shrapnel damage, and a distorted satellite dish with fresh holes in it. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by shrapnel from a round of an undetermined weapon (with calibre no greater than 30mm) fired from a direction between south and west. A male neighbour in his sixties told the SMM that firing had occurred between 11:00 and 12:00 on 12 December. The SMM had previously heard that a 62-year-old man had sustained shrapnel wounds on 12 December while in the yard of 8 Furmanova Street. (See SMM Daily Report 13 December 2017.)

At 4A Frunze Street, the SMM saw shrapnel damage to the south-east facing wall of a house. The Mission also observed a fresh crater in the asphalt 2m south-east of the house, and dents in the entrance gates to the yard of a house about 3m south-west of the crater (assessed as caused by the same weapon round that had caused the crater). About 15m north-north-west of the crater outside the yard, the SMM saw damage to the north-west side of a tree trunk. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by rounds of an undetermined weapon (with calibre 30mm) fired from a south-south-westerly direction. A male resident (in his fifties) told the SMM that he had not been home at the time of shelling but his neighbour had informed him that it had started at around 11:00 on 12 December. He added that when he came home at around 13:00, he saw the damage.

At 6A Frunze Street, the SMM saw a tree, located 3m west of a two-storey house, severed a 2.5m from the ground, assessed as caused by a projectile. The SMM was unable to determine the direction of fire. A male resident (in his sixties) of the house told the SMM that he had been at home when he had heard an explosion at 10:45 on the morning of 12 December.

At 8 Frunze Street, the SMM saw a fresh hole in the plastic panels on the south-west facing side of a two-storey house and other debris, including parts of the plastic panels, scattered in front of the house. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by a round of an undetermined weapon (with calibre no greater than 73mm) fired from a direction between south and west. The resident of the house at 6A Frunze Street told the SMM that the damage had occurred at 10:45 on 12 December.

In Luhanske, at 10 Khliborobiv Street, the SMM saw shrapnel damage to the south-east-facing side of a house and a destroyed wooden shed in the backyard of the house. About 20m south-west of the house, the SMM observed a fresh crater, assessed as caused by a round fired from an IFV (BMP-1) cannon or a recoilless gun (SPG-9, 73mm). A man in his forties living across the street told the SMM that his mother (in her seventies) lived in the house and that shelling had occurred at around 22:00 on 11 December.

In Horlivka, on “60 Rokiv SRSR” Street, the SMM saw broken south-west-facing windows on the sixth floor of the nine-storey apartment building no. 51, as well as shrapnel damage to its south-west-facing side. The SMM was unable to determine the direction of fire or the type of weapon used.

On 13 December, the SMM assessed damage to a power line caused by shelling in “LPR”-controlled Kalynove-Borshchuvate (61km west of Luhansk). The SMM observed that one of the high-voltage power lines had been cut and that cables were hanging down from pylons. The SMM also saw about 30 fresh craters (located 10-20m from each other) and fragments of undetermined ammunition on an area of soft ground about 200m north-east of the pylons and about 100m east of the nearest residential house. The SMM accessed that all the craters had been caused by rounds of undetermined weapons fired from a westerly direction.

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.*

In the late afternoon on 12 December, the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded three tracer rounds in flight from south-west to north-east, followed by a tracer round from north-east to south-west, all at unknown distances south (unable to assess whether inside or outside the disengagement area). In the early hours of 13 December, the same camera recorded, in sequence, six tracer rounds in flight from north-west to south-east 0.5-1km south-south-west and south-west (assessed as inside the disengagement area), a tracer round from west to east 1-2km south-west (assessed as inside the disengagement area), and five tracer rounds from north-west to south-east 500m south (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

During the day on 14 December, positioned in “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk), south of the Zolote disengagement area, the SMM heard two explosions assessed as impacts 5km south-west. Positioned on the western edge of Pervomaisk, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 3-5km west. Positioned 3km north of Pervomaisk, the SMM heard three explosions assessed as impacts of mortar (120mm) rounds 5km south-south-west.

The same day, the SMM observed a crane unloading concrete blocks and slabs from four or five military-type cargo trucks at “LPR” positions 20m north-west of the Prince Ihor monument south-east of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (15km north-east of Luhansk) – outside the disengagement area – assessed as fortification works.

On 14 December, positioned at the disengagements areas near government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska and Petrivske, the SMM observed calm situations.

On 14 December, the Ukrainian Armed Forces representative to the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) in the JCCC headquarters in government-controlled Soledar (79km north of Donetsk) shared with the SMM a letter from the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation informing Ukraine that the Russian Federation would withdraw its Armed Forces officers from the JCCC.

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 a government-controlled area, the SMM saw ten self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) in violation of the respective withdrawal lines near Oleksandropil (43km north of Donetsk).

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 observed seven towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) and four anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm), and noted that 20 self-propelled howitzers (2S1), 27 towed howitzers (19 2A65 – one of which was missing for the first time – and eight 2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm) and eight anti-tank guns (MT-12) continued to be absent.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and anti-aircraft guns[2] in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw an armoured recovery vehicle (BTS-4) towing an IFV (BMP-1) near Semyhiria (58km north-east of Donetsk) and two armoured personnel carriers (APC) (MT-LB), one mounted with an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) atop, near Roty (66km north-east of Donetsk). On 11 December, an SMM mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted five APCs – two BTR-70 and three MT-LB, one mounted with an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) atop – near Vodiane (19km north-east of Mariupol). On 13 December, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted a military-type vehicle (MRAP) near Popasna.

The SMM followed up on the situation of civilians living in Travneve and Hladosove. (See SMM Daily Report 7 December 2017.) On 13 December, a staff member in the village council of Novoluhanske told the SMM that residents of Travneve either did not stay there overnight or spent the night in the basement of their houses because of shelling (see ceasefire violation section). He said that a power company had brought two generators to Travneve to supply electricity to the village. He also noted that the regular bus service bringing workers to Travneve from the pig farm in Novoluhanske had resumed three days before. (See SMM Daily Report 27 November 2017.) In Novoluhanske, on 14 December, military-civil administration staff told the SMM that two generators in Travneve supplied electricity to both the village and nearby Hladosove, adding that the bus service from Novoluhanske to Travneve had resumed several days before. They also said that in Hladosove there were 15 houses inhabited, mainly by elderly people, as well as by three children and a 22-year-old man with a disability. They noted that humanitarian aid was regularly distributed to the population in Travneve and Hladosove by international organizations.

The SMM visited the Petrivske pumping station in government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk) where the head of the station told the Mission that the station had been without power since 5 December. He also said that water could not be pumped to non-government-controlled parts of Luhansk region – including the northern part of Luhansk city, Pryvitne (11km north of Luhansk), Obozne (18km north of Luhansk), Vesela Hora (16km north of Luhansk), Metalist (7km north-west of Luhansk) and Stukalova Balka (9km north of Luhansk) – while government-controlled Nyzhnoteple (26km north of Luhansk) and Artema were supplied with water from storage containers which were about halfway full. The SMM noted that there was no electricity or heating in the station.

The SMM facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance works, co-ordinated by the JCCC, to a power line in Avdiivka. (See SMM Daily Report 13 December 2017.) On the morning of 14 December, the Mission saw four workers from a power company repairing eight damaged sections of the power line and observed the subsequent completion of the repairs. In the early afternoon, the SMM observed lights in different parts of Avdiivka.

The SMM also continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance work, co-ordinated by the JCCC, to a power line near Travneve (see the previous page), to the water pipeline near government-controlled Zalizne (formerly Artemove, 42km north-east of Donetsk), to the water pumping station near Artema, and to the power line near Vesela Hora.

The SMM visited a border area outside of government control. At a border crossing point near Voznesenivka (formerly Chervonopartyzansk, 65km south-east of Luhansk), during one hour, the SMM saw 15 cars, a bus and 19 pedestrians (11 women and eight men, aged 20-55) exiting Ukraine, and 14 cars and 12 pedestrians (seven men and five women, aged 20-55) entering Ukraine.

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