Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 12 January 2018

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region compared with the previous reporting period and no ceasefire violations in Luhansk region. An SMM unmanned aerial vehicle was targeted by small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire near Pavlopil. The Mission followed up on reports of a civilian casualty in Makiivka, and it observed damage to civilian properties and a hospital due to shelling in Kalynove. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske, where it observed calm situations. The Mission’s access remained restricted there and elsewhere, including at a “DPR” heavy weapons holding area and in Izhevka.* The SMM observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near Khreshchatytske, Novozarivka and Haiove. It facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable demining near Popasna and work at the phenol sludge reservoir in Zalizne. The Mission visited a border area not under government control.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations[1], including about 230 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 620 explosions).

On the evening and night of 11-12 January, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, a projectile in flight from west to east, three projectiles from east to west, four projectiles from west to east, a projectile from east to west, two projectiles from west to east and an undetermined explosion, followed by totals of 26 undetermined explosions and 90 projectiles (48 from east to west and 42 from west to east), all 0.5-1.5km south.

During the day on 12 January, positioned on the south-western edge of government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) for over five hours, the SMM heard 16 undetermined explosions and 20 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 2-5km at directions ranging from east to south.

On the evening of 11 January, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard at least 12 explosions assessed as impacts of mortar rounds (82mm) 4-5km south-west, as well as about 50 undetermined explosions and about 50 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 4-5km south-east and south-west.

On the evening and night of 11 January, while in non-government-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 64 explosions 8-12km north-west.

On the evening of 11 January, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard over 30 undetermined explosions and over 160 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 6-8km south-west.

On the evening and night of 11-12 January, the SMM camera 1km south-west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, in sequence, 12 projectiles in flight from east to west, three projectiles from west to east, two undetermined explosions and over 160 projectiles from east to west, all 5-8km north. In the early evening of 12 January, the same camera recorded, in sequence, 22 projectiles from west to east and four projectiles from east to west, all 5-8km north.

During the day on 12 January, positioned 2km south-east of government-controlled Lebedynske (16km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard six undetermined explosions and 50 shots of small-arms fire, all at unknown distances north-north-east and east.

While conducting a mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight on the north-eastern outskirts of government-controlled Pavlopil (82km south of Donetsk), the SMM heard shots of small-arms fire and bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire (30-40 shots and bursts altogether) about 1.6km north-east, assessed as targeting the UAV, which was flying over known Ukrainian Armed Forces positions at the time. The Mission landed the UAV, which was not damaged, and departed the area. The SMM informed Ukrainian Armed Forces officers of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC).

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded no ceasefire violations, compared with 45 in the previous reporting period (42 explosions).

The SMM followed up on a report of a civilian casualty. On 11 January, at Rudnychna Hospital in “DPR”-controlled Makiivka (12km north-east of Donetsk), medical staff told the Mission that a man (born in 1986) had been admitted at 22:30 on 10 January with shrapnel injuries to his neck, left shoulder and right leg. They said that he had told them he had been injured around 15:00 that day while in a vehicle on the Putylivskyi Bridge in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city. On 12 January, medical staff told the Mission by telephone that the man was in satisfactory condition and had been released.

The SMM observed damage to civilian properties and a hospital due to shelling. In “LPR”-controlled Kalynove (60km west of Luhansk), the SMM observed broken tree branches 30-40m to south, east and north-east of a crater, assessed as caused by an artillery round (122mm) fired from a west-north-westerly direction. The crater was about 70m north of a residential building and 40m south of a bridge. About 40m east of the crater, the SMM saw a large hole in the roof of an abandoned building, assessed as caused by an artillery round (122mm) fired from an undetermined direction. A shopkeeper (woman, aged about 70) in Kalynove told the Mission that she had been told by local residents that the impacts occurred between 25 and 29 December 2017.

The SMM also saw two craters covered with sand and stones 10-20m north-west of a house at 28 Zarichna Street in Kalynove, assessed as caused by an artillery round (122mm) fired from a west-north-westerly direction. The SMM observed shrapnel damage to the north-west-facing wall of a nearby shed and to a window on the second floor of a hospital building at 13A Zarichna Street, about 100m north of the craters. Hospital staff (women, aged about 55) told the SMM that shelling had occurred in the early morning of 13 December 2017. The owners of the house at 28 Zarichna Street (man and woman, aged about 60) told the SMM that the impacts had occurred at about 01:00 on 13 December 2017.

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 all three disengagement areas, the SMM observed calm situations.

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 areas outside of government control, aerial imagery revealed the presence on 11 January of an artillery piece (type undetermined) being towed by a probable armoured personnel carrier (APC) (MT-LB) near a compound in Novozarivka (47km south-east of Donetsk), and, on 12 January, the SMM saw a surface-to-air missile system (9K33 Osa) travelling west near Khreshchatytske (formerly Krasnoarmiiske, 33km north-east of Mariupol). (Both violations occurred 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.) The SMM also saw two tanks (T-64) on flatbed trailers heading north-east 1km east of Haiove (14km west of Luhansk).

The SMM revisited a “DPR” permanent weapons storage site whose location corresponded with the respective withdrawal lines and noted that seven tanks (five T-64 and two T-72) were again missing.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles[2] and other indications of military-type presence in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted, on 11 January, a military ambulance vehicle (MT-LB), an IFV (BMP-2), an artillery reconnaissance vehicle (PRP-3 Val) and an IFV (BMP-1) with an anti-tank guided missile rail near Luhanske (59km north-east of Donetsk). On 12 January, the SMM saw an APC (MT-LBVM) being transported by a military truck travelling south near Hirske (63km west of Luhansk) and three APCs (BTR-80) travelling east-south-east near Orlivka (22km north-west of Donetsk).

In non-government-controlled areas, the SMM saw about ten unarmed “LPR” members unloading wooden logs from a military-type truck near military-type positions, observed for the first time, about 300m west of Kalynove-Borshchuvate (61km west of Luhansk). (See SMM Daily Report 11 January 2018.)

The SMM observed the presence of mines and remnants of ammunition. On 11 January, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted nine anti-tank mines (TM-62) across road M03 about 4.9km south-east of Luhanske, as well as 31 anti-tank mines (TM-62) on either side of the road about 250m farther south-east; over 100 anti-tank mines (TM-62) in fields beside road M03 about 5.7km south-east of Luhanske; and eight anti-tank mines (TM-62) across road M03 about 6.4km south-east of Luhanske, along with about 80 anti-tank mines (TM-62) in fields beside the road. The Mission assessed that none of the mines were new.

Near the gate of a house by the intersection of Artemivska and Stratonavtiv Streets in Donetsk city, south-east of Donetsk airport, the SMM observed an exploded solid-shot round (armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot, 125mm) assessed as a tungsten-based variant due to its low radiation level. A resident of the house told the Mission that an unknown person had placed the round there more than a year ago.

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 track east of government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) and for a work crew to measure the level of the phenol sludge reservoir in government-controlled Zalizne (42km north-east of Donetsk).

The SMM observed that some mobile telecommunications services were disrupted in non-government-controlled areas. In “LPR”-controlled Talove (39km south-east of Luhansk), a shopkeeper (woman, aged about 35) expressed concern to the Mission about the disruption, stating that residents of the village need to call taxis or ambulances for transport to medical facilities. A woman living in government-controlled areas expressed concern to the Mission regarding her grandmother, who lives in non-government-controlled areas and with whom the family has lost contact as a result of the disruption in services.

The SMM visited a border area not under government control. During one hour at a border crossing point near Novoborovytsi (79km south of Luhansk), the SMM again observed no one present at the former State Border Guard Service facilities. The Mission saw a pedestrian (woman, aged about 65) exiting Ukraine and spoke to a woman (aged about 60) who arrived in a car (with Ukrainian licence plates) and told the SMM that she intended to walk across the border and return to Ukraine in three to four hours.

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