Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 11 January 2018

This report is for the media and the general public.

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 continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske, and observed ceasefire violations near all three areas. The SMM’s access remained restricted there and elsewhere, including at a heavy weapons holding area in a government controlled area and in Siedove near the border with the Russian Federation.* The SMM observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line near Talakivka, Pryvilne, Kachkarske, Novooleksandrivka and Miusynsk. The SMM visited a border area not under government control. In Kyiv, the SMM continued to monitor a gathering in front of the Cabinet of Ministers building. In Chernivtsi region, the Mission monitored a gathering to mark the opening of a new building at a school where the predominant language of instruction is Romanian.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded a similar number of ceasefire violations[1], including, however, more explosions (about 620), compared with the previous reporting period (about 410 explosions).

On the evening and night of 10-11 January, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, 17 projectiles in flight from west to east, an undetermined explosion, six projectiles from west to east, eight undetermined explosions and seven projectiles from west to east, followed by a total of 39 undetermined explosions and 268 projectiles (228 from west to east and 40 from east to west), all 0.5-1.5km south. During the day on 11 January, the same camera recorded six undetermined explosions 0.5-1.5km south.

During the day on 11 January, positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about four hours, the SMM heard three undetermined explosions and bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 1-5km west and north-west. Positioned at the same location, the SMM heard 40 shots of small-arms fire 1-2km south, assessed as part of a live-fire exercise within the security zone, in violation of the ceasefire and of the Trilateral Contact Group decision of 3 March 2016 on the prohibition of live-fire exercises within the security zone.

During the day on 11 January, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk) for about 40 minutes, the SMM heard 23 undetermined explosions and bursts and shots of small-arms fire, all 1-3km south-south-west and west.

On the evening and night of 10-11 January, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 170 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds 4-5km north-west.

On the evening of 10 January, while in non-government-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk) for about six hours, the SMM heard about 150 undetermined explosions and bursts of anti-aircraft gun fire, all 5-10km north-west.

During the day on 11 January, at a border crossing point near Marynivka (78km east of Donetsk) for about an hour, the SMM heard 51 undetermined explosions 10-15km north-west and 28 undetermined explosions 15-20km north-east, all assessed as part of a live-fire exercise.

On the evening and night of 10-11 January, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard an undetermined explosion and bursts of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire 7-10km north-west, and four undetermined explosions and small-arms fire 7-10km south-west. The following day, while at the same location, the SMM heard about 40 undetermined explosions 8-10km north-east.

During the day on 11 January, positioned 3km south-east of government-controlled Lomakyne (15km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard two undetermined explosions at unknown distances south-east. On the same day, positioned 2.5km south-south-east of Lomakyne, the SMM heard 35 undetermined explosions at unknown distances east and over 60 bursts of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire at unknown distances north-east and south-east.

On the evening of 10 January, the SMM camera at the entry-exit checkpoint in government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk) recorded seven projectiles in vertical flight 2-4km south-east.

In continuation of the sequence of ceasefire violations recorded in the late afternoon of 10 January (see SMM Daily Report 11 January 2018), on the evening and night of 10-11 January, the SMM camera 1km south-west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded 34 projectiles in flight from east to west, an undetermined explosion, 15 projectiles from east to west and a projectile from west to east, followed by a total of four undetermined explosions and 121 projectiles (102 from east to west and 19 from west to east), all 5-8km north. During the day on 11 January, the same camera recorded 47 projectiles in flight from east to west and six projectiles from west to east, all 5-8km north.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including 42 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (four explosions).

During the day on 11 January, positioned in “LPR”-controlled Malomykolaivka (36km south-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 20 explosions 5-8km north assessed as part of a live-fire exercise.

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 8-9 January, the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded three projectiles in flight from west to east 2-3km west (assessed as outside the disengagement area). During the day on 11 January, positioned in Petrivske, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 1-3km north (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

Positioned on the southern edge of the disengagement area near government-controlled Zolote, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 5km north (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

In the Zolote disengagement area, the SMM observed that about 150m stretch of roadside from the northern edge of the disengagement area had been cleared of vegetation. The SMM also observed that about 1.5km stretch of roadside between a railway bridge in the disengagement area and its southern edge had been cleared of vegetation (previously, the SMM had observed vegetation removal works near the “LPR” checkpoint on the eastern edge of the same disengagement area) (see SMM Daily Report 18 November 2017.)

Positioned north of Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (15km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM heard three undetermined explosions 10km west (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, an SMM mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted, on 10 January, a mortar (M120-15 Molot, 120mm) stationary east of Talakivka (17km north-east of Mariupol) and, on 11 January, the SMM saw two stationary towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) in a compound in Pryvilne (31km north of Mariupol).

In areas outside of government control, the SMM saw a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) traveling north into a field near Kachkarske (35km north-east of Mariupol) in a zone within which deployment of heavy armaments and military equipment is further proscribed according to Point 5 of the Memorandum of 19 September 2014, 13 towed howitzers (D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm) near Novooleksandrivka (75km south-east of Donetsk) and four MLRS (BM-21) about 6km south-east of Miusynsk (62km south-west of Luhansk).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in government-controlled areas, the SMM saw, on 9 January, a self-propelled anti-aircraft system (2S6 Tunguska) and a probable surface-to-air missile system (9K35 Strela-10) near Mykolaivka (77km west of Luhansk) (see SMM Daily Report 11 January 2018.)

In areas outside of government control, the SMM saw three stationary tanks (type undetermined) in a training area near Ternove (57km east of Donetsk), six towed howitzers (type undetermined) at a training area near Uspenka (23km south-west of Luhansk), a tank (probable T-64) at a training area near Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk) and eight towed howitzers (type undetermined) near a training area about 6km south-east of Miusynsk.

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 eight MLRS (9P138 Grad-1, 122mm) and noted that 15 MLRS (11 BM-21 and four 9P138) and a self-propelled howitzer (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) continued to be absent. The SMM was denied access to a heavy weapons holding area.*

In non-government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM noted that 15 towed mortars (PM-38, 120mm) and 15 towed howitzers (D-30) continued to be absent.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles (ACV), an anti-aircraft gun[2] and other indications of military-type presence in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, an SMM mini-UAV spotted, on 10 January, a reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) near Talakivka. On 11 January, the SMM saw an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) near Vidrodzhennia (58km north-east of Donetsk), an IFV (BTR-4) near Novobakhmutivka (28km north of Donetsk), a reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) near Muratove (51km north-west of Luhansk), and eight IFVs (four BMP-1, two BRM-1K, one BMP-variant and one type undetermined), a reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) and two armoured recovery vehicles (BTS-4A) near government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk).

In non-government-controlled areas, an SMM mini-UAV spotted, on 9 January, five IFVs (BMP-1) and two probable IFVs (BMP-1), an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23-2, 23mm) mounted on a military-type truck and new stretches of trenches that were not present in imagery from 17 November 2017 – some of which were under construction – on road H-21 south-east of the bridge near Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk). On 11 January, the SMM saw an armoured personnel carrier (type undetermined) in Petrivske and “LPR” members in military-type attire digging trenches in a field along the left side of a road leading to Popasna. (see SMM Daily Report 4 January 2018.)

The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire on both sides of the contact line to enable a demining team to clear a railway yard in Popasna in order for the railway operator “Donetsk railways” to remove unused railway wagons.

The SMM visited a border area not under government control. At a border crossing point near Marynivka, during about one hour, the SMM saw 19 cars (four with “DPR” plates) exiting Ukraine and 11 cars (three with “DPR” plates) and two pedestrians (women, aged 30-40) entering Ukraine.

The SMM continued to monitor a gathering in Kyiv and saw a group of about 120 men (aged 50-65) gathered in front of the Cabinet of Ministers building and heard them demanding the recalculation and payments of their pensions. The SMM saw 35 police officers, as well as two National Guard trucks. No incidents were observed while the SMM was present (see SMM Daily Report 11 January 2018.)

In Chernivtsi region, the SMM monitored a gathering to mark the opening of a new building at a secondary school in Yordaneshty (25km south-west of Chernivtsi) where the predominant language of instruction is Romanian. The SMM saw about 200 people (men and women, mixed ages) including teachers, pupils and government officials from Ukraine and Romania. The SMM saw about 50 police officers present.

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