Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 21 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 and more in Luhansk region compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission followed up on reports of civilian casualties from Yasynuvata. The SMM observed damage to civilian properties in residential areas in Novoluhanske, Dokuchaievsk and Yasynuvata. The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded ceasefire violations near all three. Its access remained restricted in the disengagement areas and elsewhere, including at a checkpoint near Verkhnoshyrokivske and a compound in Luhansk city.* The Mission saw weapons in violation in Sievierodonetsk and near Novotroitske. It observed convoys of trucks marked, “Humanitarian Aid from the Russian Federation”, in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The SMM visited four border areas outside of government control.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations[1], including about 190 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 540 explosions).

On the evening and night of 20-21 December, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, four undetermined explosions, three projectiles in flight from east to west and two projectiles from west to east, followed by a total of 38 undetermined explosions, an illumination flare in vertical flight, 157 projectiles (107 from east to west, 45 from west to east and five from north-west to south-east) and 13 tracer rounds in flight from east to west, all 0.5-1.5km south. In the early evening of 21 December, the same camera recorded three undetermined explosions and 19 projectiles in flight from east to west, all 0.5-1.5km south.

During the day on 20 December, positioned on the south-western edge of government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) for about six hours, the SMM heard 22 undetermined explosions 2-3km south-south-east.

On the evening and night of 20-21 December, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 65 undetermined explosions 5-6km south-west.

On the evening of 20 December, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard eight undetermined explosions 4-6km east, five undetermined explosions 6-8km south-west and heavy-machine-gun fire 3-5km south-east. While at the same location on the following day, the SMM heard 12 undetermined explosions 4-7km south-west, four undetermined explosions 3-5km south and about 120 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 2-5km south-east.

On the evening of 20 December, the SMM camera 1km south-west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded 16 projectiles and ten tracer rounds in flight from east to west 5-8km north. The following day, the same camera recorded, in sequence, eight undetermined explosions, three projectiles in flight from west to east, an undetermined explosion, a projectile and a tracer round in flight from west to east, 14 projectiles from east to west, an illumination flare in vertical flight and 13 projectiles from east to west, all 5-8km north.

During the day on 21 December, positioned about 2km west of government-controlled Chermalyk (31km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard six undetermined explosions at unknown distances south.

Positioned 1km north of government-controlled Pyshchevyk (25km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard seven explosions assessed as outgoing mortar rounds and their subsequent impacts at unknown distances north-north-east.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 280 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (40 explosions).

On the evening of 20 December, while in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard about 30 undetermined explosions 15-17km west-south-west and west, and about 30 undetermined explosions 13-17km north-north-east.

During the day on 21 December, positioned on the northern edge of “LPR”-controlled Sabivka (13km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard about 60 undetermined explosions 5-10km south-south-west.

The SMM followed up on reports of civilian casualties. At a morgue in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), a medical staff member told the SMM that the body of a man (aged 50) had been brought to the morgue at about midnight on 21 December. She said that the man had died as a result of injuries sustained from shelling at his home (at 10 Kvartal 102 Street) in Yasynuvata, adding that shrapnel pieces had been extracted from his stomach. The SMM saw a shrapnel piece and that his name was recorded in a logbook.

At a hospital in Yasynuvata, medical staff told the SMM that a man (aged 67) had been admitted with shrapnel injuries to his right leg at 21:30 on 20 December. The man told the SMM that he had been at home (at 14 Kvartal 103) with his wife when he had heard explosions between 20:00 and 21:00 on 20 December; he added that a shrapnel piece had penetrated the window and hit his right leg. The SMM saw the man’s right leg fixed with bloody bandages.

The same medical staff told the SMM that on 20 December, two women (aged 80 and 56) had been admitted at 21:50 and at 23:25, respectively, and that the former (at 66 Karla Marksa Street) had shrapnel injuries to her legs and a concussion and the latter (at 11 Kvartal 102) with shrapnel injuries to her head, a fracture to her left shoulder and a concussion. The SMM saw them lying down in the hospital.

The SMM followed up on reports of damage to civilian properties in residential areas caused by shelling. The SMM visited impact sites in government-controlled Novoluhanske (53km north-east of Donetsk) (see SMM Daily Report 21 December 2017), “DPR”-controlled Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk) and Yasynuvata.

In Novoluhanske, on 20 December, the SMM saw a fresh crater in a field 40m south-west of the intersection of Michurina and Shchastia Streets, assessed as caused by a round of a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) fired from a south-westerly direction. The crater was located 50m south-west of the nearest house.

At 56 Michurina Street, the SMM saw a burnt house and the south-facing side of the house destroyed. The Mission also saw a hole in the south-east-facing side of the roof, assessed as caused by a round of an undetermined weapon. A female resident of the house told the SMM that she had been outside when the shelling occurred at 17:00 on 18 December. The SMM was unable to assess the direction of fire or the type of weapons used.

At 38 Michurina Street, the SMM saw a fresh hole (1.2m in diameter) in the south-west-facing side of a garage, assessed as caused by a round of an undetermined weapon fired from a south-westernly direction.

At 32 Michurina Street, the SMM saw a scorched car underneath remnants of a destroyed overhead covering adjacent to a house. A male resident (in his seventies) told the SMM that his wife (in her sixties) had been admitted to a hospital in government-controlled Bakhmut (formerly Artemivsk, 67km north of Donetsk) after having sustained injuries on 18 December. On 19 December, the SMM saw a woman with shrapnel injuries at the hospital in Bakhmut, and medical staff there told the Mission that she was a resident of Novoluhanske. (See SMM Daily Report 20 December 2017.)

At 26 Shchastia Street, the SMM saw that nearly half of the south-west-facing side of a house was destroyed, assessed as caused by a round of an undetermined weapon. The owner of the house told the SMM that shelling had occurred at around 17:00 on 18 December when he and his family had been at home. The SMM was unable to assess the direction of fire.

At 15 Shchastia Street, the SMM saw a fresh crater in the yard of a kindergarten and a fresh hole in the roof, assessed as caused by rounds of an undetermined weapon. The director of the kindergarten told the SMM that 72 children were enrolled and although no one had been there when shelling had occurred at around 17:00 on 18 December, the last child had been taken by his parents just 20 minutes before the shelling. The SMM was unable to assess the direction of fire. On 19 December, an SMM mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle UAV spotted damage to the roof of the kindergarten. (See SMM Daily Report 21 December 2017.)

At 2 Shkilna Street, the SMM saw two fresh craters in the courtyard of a school, as well as shrapnel damage to one of the courtyard walls, assessed as caused by rounds of an undetermined weapon. The SMM was unable to assess the direction of fire. On 19 December, the same UAV spotted damage to the roof of the school. (See SMM Daily Report 21 December 2017.)

At 25 Shkilna Street, the SMM saw shattered windows and shrapnel damage to the south-west-facing side of a medical facility. The director of the medical facility told the SMM that staff had heard shelling at around 16:30 on 18 December and that some of the medical equipment had been damaged as a result.

In Dokuchaievsk, at 14/38 Nezalezhnosti Ukrainy Street, the SMM saw a broken north-west-facing window on the ground floor of an apartment. Inside the apartment, the SMM saw damage to the corner of a wall in the kitchen, assessed as caused by a round of an undetermined weapon probably fired from a west-north-westerly direction. A male resident (in his twenties) of the apartment told the SMM that he had been in an adjacent room when he had heard an impact in the kitchen, seen the broken window and found a projectile in the kitchen sink at around 12:00 on 19 December.

At 22 Nezalezhnosti Ukrainy Street, the SMM saw holes in the north-west-facing side of a three-storey building. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by rounds of an undetermined weapon probably fired from a north-westerly direction. A female worker (in her thirties) in the building told the SMM that shelling had occurred at around 13:00 on 19 December.

At 22/2 Sovetska Street on 21 December, the SMM saw a hole in the west-facing side of a two-storey house, assessed as caused by a round of a 30mm cannon fired from a westerly direction. The SMM also saw a destroyed storage building 10m south of the house. A female resident (in her sixties) told the SMM that she had been at home when she had heard an impact and saw smoke and dust emanating from the roof of the storage building at around 12:00 on 19 December.

In Yasynuvata, at 50 Zavodska Street, the SMM saw a fresh crater in the yard 3m north of a single-storey house, assessed as caused by a round of an undetermined weapon fired from a northerly direction. The SMM also saw shrapnel damage to the north-facing roof, side and gate of the house, as well as shrapnel damage to the ceiling and walls of a room in the northern side of the house. A resident (in his forties) of the house told the SMM that shelling had occurred between 20:30 and 20:50 on 20 December while he, his wife and a 12-year-old daughter had been at home. He said that they had laid on the floor and covered themselves with mattresses until shelling had ended.

At 11 Kvartal 102 Street, the SMM saw a fresh hole in the ceiling of a kitchen in apartment no. 73 on the top floor of a seven-storey residential building as well as shattered north-facing windows. In apartment no. 75 on the top floor of the same building, the SMM saw a fresh hole in the wall at the northern side of the kitchen and shattered north-facing windows through the hole. The SMM assessed that both cases of damage above had been caused by rounds of an undetermined weapon fired from a northerly direction.

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 evening of 18 December, the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded two tracer rounds in flight from south-east to north-west at unknown distances south-west (unable to assess whether inside or outside the disengagement area). On the evening of 19 December, the same camera recorded an undetermined explosion at an unknown distance north-north-west.

On the evening of 20 December, while on the eastern edge of government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska, the SMM heard over 150 undetermined explosions 10km west.

In the early hours of 21 December, the SMM camera in government-controlled Zolote recorded two bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 2-3km north-north-east, assessed as outside the 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 government-controlled areas, the SMM saw 12 anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) near Sievierodonetsk (74km north-west of Luhansk). Aerial imagery on 10 December revealed a probable tank (either T-64 or T-72) near Novotroitske (36km south-west of Donetsk).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in a government-controlled area, aerial imagery on 10 December revealed the presence of two surface-to-air missile systems (9K35 Strela-10 and 9K36) in Donske (57km south of Donetsk).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in a non-government-controlled area, the SMM saw three stationary tanks (T-64) in firing positions near Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk). (See SMM Daily Report 20 December 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 one surface-to-air missile system (9K31 Strela-1) and eight MLRS (9P138 Grad-1, 122mm), and noted that 15 MLRS (11 BM-21 and four 9P138), one self-propelled howitzer (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), one surface-to-air missile system (9K35) and 21 anti-tank guns (18 MT-12 and three D-48, 85mm) continued to be absent.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and an anti-aircraft gun[2] in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, an SMM mini UAV spotted an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) near Chermalyk. Aerial imagery on 10 December revealed the presence of six infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) (five BMP-2 and one BMP-1) near Novotroitske.

The SMM observed the removal of a mine at the northern entrance of government-controlled Hnutove (20km north-east of Mariupol). The SMM saw 15 Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel present, two of whom were handling an anti-tank mine (TM-62) and storing it in a tarpaulin bag near a checkpoint. One of them told the SMM that the State Emergency Services had removed the mine from a field earlier that day. The SMM saw a stationary vehicle with “State Emergency Services” written in Ukrainian on the side.

In both Donetsk and Luhansk regions the SMM observed convoys of trucks with “Humanitarian Aid from the Russian Federation” written in Russian on the side. At the south-eastern edge of “LPR”-controlled Luhansk city at 08:55 on 21 December, the SMM saw a convoy of 16 covered white cargo trucks (five with black Russian Federation military licence places and the remainder with white civilian Russian Federation licence plates) on road M04 heading north-west. The convoy was escorted by at least three cars (white in colour with two orange stripes on the sides) with blue flashing lights on, three white-and-blue cars, and an ambulance (some of them with Russian Federation licence plates and the remainder not seen). The SMM saw one of the trucks with white civilian Russian Federation licence plates leave the convoy and heading north-west. Later, the Mission observed the convoy enter a compound at 4A Darhomyzhskoho Street in the southern outskirts of Luhansk city. When the SMM attempted to enter the compound, two armed “LPR” members wearing clothes with “LPR” “police” written in Russian denied its access, claiming that the SMM would not be given access without permission from other “LPR” members.*

At 1 Baumana Street in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city’s Budonivskyi district (6km south-east of city centre) at around 11:00 on 21 December, the SMM saw five covered white cargo trucks (one with black Russian Federation places and four with white Russian Federation licence plates) parked along the side of the street in front of a storage facility. In the compound, the SMM saw about 20 covered cargo trucks being unloaded. Later that day, at 14:15, the SMM saw a convoy of 28 covered cargo trucks (all with white civilian Russian Federation licence plates), escorted by three cars with black Russian Federation military licence places and a car with “police” written in Russian (with “DPR” plates), on T0507 heading east near “DPR”-controlled Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk).

The SMM visited four border areas outside government control. At the border crossing point near Uspenka, during two hours, the SMM saw 111 cars (39 with “DPR” plates), five vans (one with “DPR” plates), three buses, 81 covered cargo trucks (20 with “DPR” plates) exiting Ukraine, and 71 cars (34 with “DPR” plates), ten vans (four with “DPR” plates), 16 covered cargo trucks (six with “DPR” plates), two fuel trucks and two buses (one with “DPR” plates) entering Ukraine. A woman in her forties near the crossing point told the SMM that between 06:00 and 06:30 on 21 December she saw around 20-25 trucks enter Ukraine, being escorted by “police” cars heading west. A man in his forties told the SMM that he had seen a convoy of around 20 trucks in “DPR”-controlled Kuteinykove (42km south-east from Donetsk), about 35km west-north-west of Uspenka.

At the border crossing point near Marynivka (78km east of Donetsk), during one hour, the SMM saw 14 cars (one with “DPR” plates), two vans and six pedestrians (five men and one woman, aged 40-50) entering Ukraine, and 31 cars (seven with “DPR” plates), three vans (two with “DPR” plates) and four covered cargo trucks exiting Ukraine.

At the border crossing point near Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk), during an hour, the SMM saw 15 cars (two with “LPR” plates), two buses, five covered cargo trucks and 160 pedestrians (94 women and 66 men, aged 35-60) exiting Ukraine, and 22 cars, three buses and 58 pedestrians (39 women and 19 men, aged 35-60) entering Ukraine.

At the border crossing point near Sievernyi (50km southeast of Luhansk), during about 25 minutes, the SMM saw 11 pedestrians (seven women and four men, aged 40-60) entering Ukraine, and two men in their forties exiting Ukraine.

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