Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 9 January 2018

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and a similar number of ceasefire violations in Luhansk region compared with the previous 24 hours. The Mission observed shrapnel damage to a building in Pikuzy. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske, and observed infantry fighting vehicles inside the Petrivske disengagement area. Its access remained restricted in all three areas and elsewhere.* The Mission observed a weapon in violation of withdrawal lines near Oleksandropillia. An SMM unmanned aerial vehicle spotted fallen power lines and an extended trench in Zaitseve. The Mission visited two border areas not under government control. It monitored the administrative boundary line between Kherson region and Crimea and noted a calm situation.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations[1], including about 235 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours (about 150 explosions).

On the night of 8-9 January, while in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre, the SMM heard 16 undetermined explosions 5-12km west-north-west and north-west. During the day on 9 January, positioned at the Donetsk central railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk city centre) for about one hour, the SMM heard 44 undetermined explosions and about 50 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 3-5km west.

On the night of 8-9 January, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, a projectile in flight from east to west, four undetermined explosions, two tracer rounds in flight from west to east, two projectiles from west to east, two undetermined explosions, a projectile from west to east, 11 tracer rounds from west to east, seven projectiles from west to east, five undetermined explosions and a projectile from south to north, followed by totals of 100 undetermined explosions, 100 projectiles (three from north to south, 60 from east to west, two from south-east to north-west, 15 from west to east and 20 from north-west to south-east), three illumination flares in vertical flight and an airburst, all 0.5-1.5km south.

In the late afternoon of 9 January, the same camera recorded, in sequence, 18 projectiles in flight from east to west, a projectile from west to east, seven projectiles from east to west and six projectiles from west to east, followed by a total of 70 projectiles (42 from east to west and 28 from west to east), all 0.5-1.5km south.

During the day on 9 January, positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for three and a half hours, the SMM heard nine undetermined explosions, 12 shots of automatic-grenade-launcher fire and 15 shots of small-arms fire, all 2-8km at directions ranging from west-south-west to north. Positioned on the south-western edge of Yasynuvata for over one hour, the SMM heard nine undetermined explosions and a shot of small-arms fire, all 2-3km west-north-west.

Positioned 1.8km south-east of government-controlled Kleban Byk (48km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard 25 shots of small-arms fire 500m north, assessed as live-fire training inside the security zone, in violation of the decision of the Trilateral Contact Group of 3 March 2016 that prohibits the conduct of live-fire training (exercises) in the security zone.

On the evening of 8 January, the SMM camera 1km south-west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded a projectile in flight from east to west and a projectile from south to north, both 5-8km north.

On 9 January, positioned 1km north-north-west of government-controlled Pyshchevyk (25km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard ten explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of undetermined weapons and an undetermined explosion, all 1-2km north-east, as well as nine undetermined explosions and small-arms fire at unknown distances north-east.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded a similar number of ceasefire violations – including, however, fewer explosions (six) – compared with the previous 24 hours (12 explosions).

On 9 January, positioned in “LPR”-controlled Kalynove (60km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard over 30 bursts of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) fire and 20 shots of small-arms fire, all 3-4km west and west-north-west.

The SMM observed shrapnel damage to a building in “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol). In the south-west-facing wall of the former village council building opposite civilian residences at 5-7 Peremohy Street, the SMM saw five fresh holes assessed as caused by shrapnel. Two women (aged 60-80) told the Mission that they heard five explosions in the village at about 16:00 on 8 January. A man (in his fifties) separately told the SMM that the explosions had occurred in a garden at 5-7 Peremohy Street. Due to security reasons, the Mission could not assess the site of the reported impacts.

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.*

Positioned near the Prince Ihor Monument south-east of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, the SMM heard an explosion assessed as the detonation of a mine 1-2km west (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

Inside the disengagement area near “DPR”-controlled Petrivske, an SMM mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted three east-facing military positions (assessed as established during 2016, based on previous aerial imagery) – all within 0.9-2km of the western edge of the disengagement area – with three IFVs (BMP-1) in revetments, several small tents, fresh vehicle tracks and a recently dug trench with wooden logs piled next to it. A Ukrainian flag flew above one of the positions. (For previous observations, see SMM Daily Report 11 November 2017.)

Positioned near the disengagement area south of government-controlled Zolote, the SMM observed a calm situation.

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, on 5 January an SMM mini UAV spotted a probable anti-aircraft system (9K35 Strela-10) near government-controlled Oleksandropillia (71km west of Luhansk).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, the SMM on 9 January saw four tanks (T-64) travelling west on the northern outskirts of government-controlled Mykolaivka (77km west of Luhansk) as part of a series of convoys which included other military vehicles.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles, an anti-aircraft weapon[2] and other indications of military-type presence in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, an SMM mini UAV on 5 January spotted a probable fire control vehicle (MT-LB, 1VXX-variant), an IFV (BTR-82A) and an armoured personnel carrier (APC) (Kozak) near Oleksandropillia. On 8 January, an SMM mini UAV spotted an anti-aircraft system (ZSU-23-4 Shilka, 23mm), two probable anti-aircraft systems (ZSU-23-4) and a Ural truck with four missile canisters (of the type used for 9K35 Strela-10 missiles) adjacent to houses near Popasna (69km west of Luhansk). On 9 January, the Mission saw two stationary reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM-2) near Orikhove-Donetske (44km north-west of Luhansk).

In non-government-controlled areas, an SMM mini UAV on 5 January spotted newly dug trenches and fighting positions, and a bunker under construction, near Kalynove-Borshchuvate (61km west of Luhansk). On 9 January, the SMM saw at least ten unarmed “LPR” members digging trenches and fortifying positions in another area near the village. On 9 January, the SMM saw fresh tracks, assessed as those of an IFV (BMP-2), at a checkpoint in Berezove (31km south-west of Donetsk). The SMM also saw an APC (BTR-variant) with a tent-covered turret more than 2m high travelling west near Mytkovo-Kachkari (32km north-east of Mariupol).

On 5 January, an SMM mini UAV spotted fallen power lines, observed as undamaged in imagery from 17 November 2017, in between the forward positions of the forces and armed formations in Zaitseve (50km north-east of Donetsk). The UAV also spotted a recently constructed trench (with a machine-gun position) extending about 30m east from the government-controlled Zhovanka neighbourhood of Zaitseve, as well as about 200 anti-tank mines in two areas under government control about 1km farther north (the Mission assessed that the mines had not been recently placed).

The SMM observed demining activities by a Ukrainian Armed Forces demining team near government-controlled Kurdiumivka (54km north of Donetsk). Four men with metal detectors swept a field but did not discover any mines or unexploded ordnance (UXO).

At the bridge south of government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk), the Mission monitored and facilitated a transfer of funds from non-government- to government-controlled areas. The funds were reportedly in relation to a water utility debt. (See SMM Daily Report 10 October 2017.)

The SMM visited two border areas not under government control. During one hour at a border crossing point near Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM saw 67 cars (eight with “LPR” plates), two buses, a truck with a covered cargo area, and 65 pedestrians (men and women of various ages) exiting Ukraine, and 13 cars (one with “LPR” plates), two buses (each carrying about 60 passengers) and about 120 pedestrians (men and women, aged 40-60, and five children) entering Ukraine. During 25 minutes at a border crossing point near Sievernyi (50km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM saw 16 pedestrians (men and women in their fifties) exiting Ukraine.

The SMM monitored the administrative boundary line between Kherson region and Crimea. On 8 January, the SMM visited crossing points near Chaplynka (77km south-east of Kherson) and Kalanchak (67km south-east of Kherson) and noted calm situations. On 9 January, the SMM visited a crossing point near Chonhar (167km south-east of Kherson) and noted a calm situation.

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