Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 28 March 2018

Attachments

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission observed damage caused by gunfire to civilian properties in residential areas of Sakhanka and Horlivka, where it also followed up on reports of a civilian casualty. The SMM saw a de-miner injured by an explosion near the Donetsk Filtration Station. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded ceasefire violations in the Petrivske disengagement area and observed a soldier carrying a weapon inside the Zolote disengagement area. Its access remained restricted in all three disengagement areas and elsewhere.* The SMM observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near Vodiane and Bohoiavlenka. The Mission continued to facilitate access for workers to and from the Donetsk Filtration Station; it also facilitated repairs to the Petrivske pumping station near Artema and to power lines near Semyhiria. In Kyiv, the SMM saw a makeshift memorial outside the Embassy of the Russian Federation honouring the victims of the shopping mall fire in Kemerovo in the Russian Federation.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations[1], including 275 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 300 explosions).

On the evening of 27 March, while in Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 30 undetermined explosions 10-14km west-south-west and an undetermined explosion 3-5km south-east, as well as six bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 8-10km west-south-west.

During the day on 28 March, positioned on the south-western edge of Avdiivka (government-controlled, 17km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 40 undetermined explosions and 35 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 3-6km at directions ranging from east to south-west.

During the day on 28 March, positioned in Kamianka (government-controlled, 24km south of Donetsk), the SMM heard 26 undetermined explosions 3-10km at directions ranging from south to south-west, two undetermined explosions 4-5km north-east and 12 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 8-10km south-south-west.

On the afternoon of 28 March, positioned at the central railway station in Donetsk city (non-government-controlled, 6km north-west of city centre), the SMM heard about 100 undetermined explosions, about 150 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire and about ten minutes of uncountable and overlapping bursts of small-arms fire, all 1-4km north and north-west.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including six explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 30 explosions).

The SMM followed up on reports of casualties and damage to civilian properties caused by gunfire and mines. On 28 March, while the SMM was proceeding along road H-20 west of Yasynuvata (non-government-controlled, 16km north-east of Donetsk) towards the Donetsk Filtration Station (see below), it heard an explosion about 50m south-west of its position. About five minutes later, it saw two de-miners supporting a third de-miner walking towards a vehicle of the Ukrainian State Emergency Services, where they applied bandages to his head and hand. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the Joint Centre for Control and Co‑ordination (JCCC) later told the SMM that the de-miner was being treated in the hospital for two fractured fingers and eye injuries.[2]

On 26 March, at 2/2 Ordzhonikidze Street in Horlivka (non-government-controlled, 39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM saw three fresh holes – one in the south-west-facing wall and two in the north-west-facing roof of a one-storey house – assessed as caused by rounds of undetermined weapons (with a calibre no greater than 30mm) fired from a westerly direction. A 65-year-old man who introduced himself to the SMM as a resident of the neighbourhood told the SMM that he had heard from other local residents that a woman had been killed by shrapnel or impact debris outside her house at 2/2 Ordzhonikidze Street on the morning of 25 March. Medical staff at a morgue in Horlivka told the SMM that the body of a woman who had died from impact debris had been brought to the facility on 25 March but refused to provide further information.

On 28 March in Sakhanka (non-government-controlled, 24km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM observed 25-30 holes in the west-facing fences, walls and roofs of 12 houses on Lenina and 60-October Streets. The SMM assessed the holes as caused by the impacts of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) fire and anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) rounds fired from a westerly direction. According to local residents, the damage occurred at around 08:00 on 27 March. (One of the houses had also been damaged by shelling last week. See SMM Daily Report 28 March 2018.)

The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk), Zolote (government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk) and Petrivske (non-government-controlled, 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 25 March, the SMM camera in Petrivske recorded eight projectiles in flight from south-west to north-east 2-4km west (assessed as fired from within the disengagement area).

During the day on 28 March, the SMM observed a soldier of the Ukrainian Armed Forces carrying an assault rifle in a part of Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk) within the Zolote disengagement area. When asked by the SMM whether he was aware that he had entered the disengagement area, he replied in the affirmative, adding that he had been visiting a company commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the disengagement area.

During the day on 28 March, 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 non-government-controlled areas, the SMM saw five towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) near Vodiane (42km south-west of Donetsk) and ten self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) near Bohoiavlenka (46km south-west of Donetsk).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in a non-government-controlled area, aerial imagery revealed the presence of eight tanks (type undetermined) near Pokrovka (36km east of Donetsk) on 26 March. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw a tank (T-64) in Pidhorodne (73km north of Donetsk) and, at the railway station in Rubizhne (84km north-west of Luhansk), seven anti-tank guided missile systems (9P148 Konkurs, 135mm) and an anti-aircraft system (9K35 Strela-10, 120mm).

The SMM visited areas previously holding 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 of Donetsk region, the SMM noted as again missing: seven towed howitzers (one 2A65 and six D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm), nine anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm), 28 mortars (12 M-120 Molot, 120mm; 15 2B11 Sani, 120mm; one BM-37, 82mm) and six self-propelled howitzers (2S1).

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and anti-aircraft guns[3] in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) mounted on a pick-up truck near Lomakyne (15km north-east of Mariupol), an IFV (BMP variant) and an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) near Novotoshkivske (53km west of Luhansk), eight IFVs (BMP variants) in Zolote-3/Stakhanovets (60km west of Luhansk) and two IFVs (BMP-2) and an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) mounted on a truck near Zolote. In non-government-controlled areas, the SMM saw two IFVs (BMP-2): one in Smile (31km north-west of Luhansk) and the other in Zymohiria (27km west of Luhansk).

On 28 March, the SMM observed that a train carrying passengers travelled from Luhansk city to Yasynuvata.

In Kostiantynivka (60km north of Donetsk), the SMM launched its new long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The UAV was flown for 11 minutes.

The SMM continued to facilitate access of Voda Donbassa water company employees to and from the Donetsk Filtration Station to keep the station operational (see SMM Daily Report 27 March 2018). The SMM also facilitated and monitored repairs to the Petrivske pumping station near Artema (government-controlled, 26km north of Luhansk) and to power lines near Semyhiria (government-controlled, 58 km north-east of Donetsk).

As the SMM proceeded to the Donetsk Filtration Station, it again observed mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) along road H-20 west of Yasynuvata. The SMM observed three anti-personnel fragmentation mines (two MON-50 and one MON-200) lying on the ground on the south-west side of road H-20. The SMM informed Ukrainian Armed Forces officers of the JCCC about the presence of these mines and then observed as they were removed by Ukrainian State Emergency Service staff some hours later.[3]

In Kyiv, in front of the Embassy of the Russian Federation at 27 Povitroflotskyi Avenue, the SMM saw that flowers, balloons, stuffed animals and notes had been laid down to commemorate the victims of a fire at a shopping mall in Kemerovo in the Russian Federation which occurred on 25 March 2018. The SMM observed a man in his forties laying flowers.

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