Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 29 April 2018

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and fewer in Luhansk region between the evenings of 27 and 28 April, compared with the previous reporting period. Between the evenings of 28 and 29 April, it recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, compared with the previous 24 hours. The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded ceasefire violations inside the Petrivske and the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement areas; its access remained restricted there and elsewhere, including in Izvaryne, Kadiivka and Voznesenivka.* Members of the armed formations told an SMM patrol that it would be detained if it did not comply with requests to inspect SMM vehicles at a checkpoint north of Horlivka*. The SMM observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line. The SMM observed damage in residential areas in Pikuzy and Bila Hora and followed up on reports of civilian casualties in Dokuchaievsk and Donetsk city. It continued to facilitate access to the Donetsk Filtration Station for Voda Donbassa employees and heard ceasefire violations in the area, including by a multiple launch rocket system, despite security guarantees. The SMM also continued to facilitate and monitor repairs to power lines near Yuzhna-Lomuvatka and confirmed that Vodafone services had been restored in several non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk region. It visited two border areas outside of government control. In Odessa, the SMM monitored a gathering at the Duke of Richelieumonument.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations[1]between the evenings of 27 and 28 April,including about 310 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period(about 260 explosions). Between the evenings of 28 and 29 April, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including 40 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours.

On the evening of 27 April, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS) (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, two undetermined explosions and a projectile in flight from east to west, followed by two undetermined explosions and a projectile from west to east, all 1.5-3km north. On the evening and night of 28-29 April, the same camera recorded seven projectiles in flight from north to south and an undetermined explosion, all 0.3-3km west.

On the morning of 28 April, positioned in Kruta Balka (non-government-controlled, 16km north of Donetsk), 1.3km north-east of the DFS, the SMM heard 64 undetermined explosions, 31 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire and heard and saw two airbursts of an undetermined anti-aircraft gun, all 1-5km south-south-west, south-west and north-west. At the same location on the morning of 29 April the SMM heard 15 shots and bursts of small-arms fire, all 1-2km at directions ranging from south to west and north.

On the morning of 28 April, positioned 1.3km south-east of Kamianka (government-controlled, 20km north of Donetsk), about 3.5km north-north-west of the DFS, the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions and two bursts of small-arms fire, and heard and saw the airburst of an undetermined anti-aircraft gun, all 2-5km south and south-east.

During the day on 28 April, positioned on the south-western edge of government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk), about 4km west of the DFS, for about five and a half hours, despite security guarantees having been provided, the SMM heard 72 undetermined explosions 3-8km at directions ranging from north-east to south-south-west.

On the same day, positioned at the railway station in Yasynuvata (non-government-controlled, 16km north-east of Donetsk), about 1km south of the DFS, for about six hours, despite security guarantees having been provided, the SMM heard five explosions assessed as rounds of multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) (type undetermined), 61 undetermined explosions, 25 shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire and about 15 minutes of continuous uncountable shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, as well as heard and saw four undetermined airbursts, all 1-4km west, north-west and north-north-west. At the same location during the day on 29 April, the SMM heard eight undetermined explosions and about 31 shots and bursts of small-arms fire 3-10km south-west and west. The same day, positioned 2km west of Yasynuvata,the SMM heard three undetermined explosions and 57 shots of small-arms fire, all 3-10km west and north-west.

On the morning of 28 April, positioned 0.8km south of Novohryhorivka (non-government-controlled, 61km north-east of Donetsk) for about an hour and a half, the SMM heard 34 undetermined explosions and 20 shots of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 3-4km north-west.

On the evening of 27 April, the SMM camera at Oktiabr mine (non-government-controlled, 9km north-west of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, 46 projectiles in flight from west to east, five undetermined explosions at undetermined directions, 62 projectiles in vertical flight from west to east, followed by a total of six undetermined explosions at undetermined directions and a projectile in flight from west to east, all at undetermined distances.

On the evening of 28 April, while in Horlivka (non-government-controlled, 39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 15 undetermined explosions and ten bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 4-7km south-west and west.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations between the evenings of 27 and 28 April,including 40 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period(about 40 explosions). Between the evenings of 28 and 29 April, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including 28 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours.

On the evening of 27 April, while in Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, non-government-controlled, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 12 explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of an undetermined weapon 3-6km north and 16 undetermined explosions 5-10km north-north-east. On the evening and night of 28-29 April, at the same location, the SMM heard 12 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds 3-6km north.

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 hardwareof 21 September 2016. The SMM’s access remained restricted, but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*

On the evening and night of 27-28 April, the SMM camera in Zolote recorded two undetermined explosions 3-6km east (assessed as outside the disengagement area). The following evening, the same camera recorded an undetermined explosion 1-2km east (unable to assess if inside or outside the disengagement area). On 27 April, the SMM saw two infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) (BMP-1) north of Pervomaisk (assessed as being outside the disengagement area). On 29 April, the SMM saw three armed Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers inside the disengagement area walking towards a checkpoint on its northern edge.

On the evening of 27 April, the SMM camera near the Prince Ihor monument south-east of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (non-government-controlled, 15km north-east of Luhansk) recorded seven undetermined explosions 4-6km north-north-east (assessed as outside the disengagement area). During the day on 29 April, positioned in Stanytsia Luhanska, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion (unable to assess if inside or outside the disengagement area). On the same day, while at the northern end of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 1km east (assessed as inside the disengagement area). On the same day, while 0.6km north of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, the SMM saw and heard an explosion assessed as a trip wire/signal flare (assessed as inside the disengagement area).

On the evening and night of 24-25 April, the SMM camera in Petrivske recorded, in sequence, a projectile in vertical flight from north-west to south-east and a projectile in flight from south-east to north-west, followed by a total of seven outgoing explosions and five projectiles in flight from south-east to north-west, all 0.5-2km south-west and south (all assessed as inside the disengagement area). During the day on 28 April, positioned in Petrivske for about an hour and a half, the SMM heard 14 undetermined explosions and 25 minutes of uncountable overlapping shots of small-arms fire (assessed as outside the disengagement area) 2-3km south-east. The SMM also heard 17 shots and bursts of small-arms fire 2-3km south (unable to assess if inside or outside the disengagement area). On the morning of 29 April, positioned in Bohdanivka (government-controlled, 41km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard an undetermined explosion at an undetermined distance east-north-east (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

The SMM observed damage near civilian properties in residential areas. On 28 April in Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, non-government-controlled, 23km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM saw a crater at 34 Akhmatovoi Street, assessed as not fresh, 10m south of a single-family house and 60m north-east of a shop. The SMM saw a remnant of an anti-tank rocket (RPG-7) 5m west of the crater. It assessed the crater as caused by an anti-tank rocket (RPG-7) fired from a western direction. The SMM saw that a house on 9 Peremohy Street had been destroyed by fire and was still smouldering. Its roof had collapsed, the western-facing wall had partially collapsed and all the windows and the furniture inside the house were burned.

In Bila Hora(government-controlled, 67km north-west of Luhansk) on 27 April the SMM saw 16 craters on the eastern side of road P66 and another one on the road’s western side. The SMM assessed the craters as caused by artillery fire from a south-easterly direction. A man (in his fifties) present at the site who identified himself as a member of the Myrna Dolyna village council (government-controlled, 67km north-west of Luhansk) told the SMM that the artillery fire had occurred on the night of 26 April.

The SMM followed up on reports of civilian casualties. On 28 April, the SMM followed up on reports of a woman who had sustained injuries on Lenina Street in Dokuchaievsk (non-government-controlled, 30km south-west of Donetsk). At a hospital in Dokuchaievsk the injured woman’s daughter (in her thirties) told the SMM that on the morning of 28 April her mother, while on the way to a store, had heard sounds of shelling. Then, about 100m away from her house at 4 Polzunova Street, she had felt a strong pain in her right shoulder. The SMM spoke to a doctor (man, in his sixties) who said that a woman (in her sixties) with injuries caused by shrapnel had been admitted to the hospital that morning. On 29 April at the hospital, the SMM was informed by another doctor that the woman had been discharged.

The SMM also followed up on reports of two men (one in his seventies, the other one in his sixties) who had reportedly been killed by shrapnel in a parking lot at 8 Bazarna Street in Dokuchaievsk on the morning of 28 April. On 28 April, at a morgue in Dokuchaievsk the SMM saw two covered bodies. At the morgue medical staff told the SMM that the bodies were victims of shelling. On 29 April, at the parking lot, the SMM saw seven impacts (one on the roof of an office building, part of which had collapsed, and six in the ground) assessed as fresh. The SMM assessed the craters as caused by fire from a north-westerly direction. On the property the SMM saw broken glass on the ground. It saw an office building whose windows were damaged, another building with damaged windows and holes in a metal fence around the parking lot. It saw holes in the chassis of two tractors, four trucks and one car, and another Lada car that was burnt. The SMM also saw that the building at 1b Svobodna Street adjacent to the parking lot had a hole in its north-west-facing wall. It observed that three windows facing north-west on the ground floor and two windows facing west on the second floor, as well as the front door of the building were destroyed.

On 29 April, the SMM followed up on reports of two civilian casualties in Petrovskyi district of Donetsk city. At a hospital in Donetsk city the SMM talked witha woman (in her seventies) with a small white bandage on her lower right arm. The woman told the SMM that she had been injured by shelling which had happened around noon on 28 April while she had been working in the garden next to the multi-storey building on 2 Sokolovskoho Street where she lives. She said she had heard an explosion and had tried to walk towards the building to find shelter when she had felt blood running down her left leg. The doctor treating the woman told the SMM that the injury had been caused by shrapnel and added that no shrapnel had been found in the wound.

On 28 April an SMM patrolwas stoppedby six armed members of the armed formations at a checkpoint north of Horlivka.* The men demanded to inspect the trunks of the SMM vehicles. The patrol complied with the request. They then demanded that the SMM open the toolboxes carried in both vehicles. Later two of the men approached the patrol and said that if it did not comply or return back to government-controlled areas it would be taken to a different location where both vehicles would be inspected. The patrol was only allowed to proceed after it had showed the content of the toolboxes, its trauma kit bags and sleeping bags. (See SMM Spot Report 28 April 2018.)

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weaponsin implementation of the Package of Measures and its Addendum, as well as the Memorandum. In violation of withdrawal lines in government-controlled areas, on 28 April, the SMM saw a self-propelled howitzer (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) near Romanivka(41km north of Donetsk), eight self-propelled howitzers (six 2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm and two 2S1) in Kostiantynivka (60km north of Donetsk), three self-propelled howitzers (2S1) near Ocheretyne (31km north-west of Donetsk), a surface-to-air missile system (9K33 Osa, 210mm) near Pravdivka (38km north of Donetsk) and 14 self-propelled (2S1) and eight towed howitzers (D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm) in Bakhmut (67km north of Donetsk). Also in Bakhmut, the SMM saw on 29 April 18 self-propelled howitzers (2S1) and ten towed howitzers (D-30). On 29 April, the SMM saw six self-propelled howitzers (2S1) near Anadol (65km south of Donetsk). Aerial imagery revealed on 26 April the presence of a probable tank (type undetermined) near Bohdanivka.

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside of designated storage sites in government-controlled areas, on 27 April an SMM mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted 12 anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) at a train station in Rubizhne (84km north-west of Luhansk). On 28 April the SMM saw a towed howitzer (2A36, Giatsint, 152mm) near Azovske (22km south-west of Mariupol).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated outside designated storage sites in government-controlled areas, the SMM saw on 28 April a self-propelled mortar (2S9 Nona-S, 120mm) near Pokrovsk (55km north-west of Donetsk).

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 sawon 29 April a surface-to-air missile system(9K35 Strela-10, 120mm) and eight MLRS (BM-21 Grad, 122mm). The SMM noted that a surface-to-air missile system(9K35), 15 MLRS (BM-21) and a self-propelled howitzer (2S1) were again missing.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehiclesand anti-aircraft guns[2]in the security zone. In government-controlled-areas, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted on 27 April three armoured personnel carriers (APC) (BTR variant), two probable APC (BTR variant) and two anti-aircraft guns (ZU-23-2, 23mm) in Kamianka and six probable APC (BTR variant) south-east of Avdiivka. On 27 April, the SMM saw an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23-2) mounted atop a military-type truck near Orikhove (57km north-west of Luhansk), an APC (BTR-70) near Zolote4/Rodina (60km north-west of Luhansk), two mine clearing vehicles (UR-77 Meteorit), two mine layers (GMZ-3) and a combat engineering vehicle (type undetermined) near Loskutivka (72km west of Luhansk) as well as a probable armoured reconnaissance vehicle (ARV) (BRM-1K) near Maksymilianivka (30km west of Donetsk). On 29 April, the SMM sawan APC (BTR-80) near Artema(26km north of Luhansk), two APCs (BTR-80) and an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23-2) mounted atop a military-type truck near Kyrylivka (26km north-east of Mariupol) as well as six IFVs (five BTR-80, one BTR-70) and three APCs (MT-LB) near Kurakhove (40km west of Donetsk).

In non-government-controlled areas, the SMM saw on 29 April 2018 an APC (type undetermined) nearKadiivka.

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs to power lines near Yuzhna-Lomuvatka (non-government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk). On 28, April the SMM confirmed that the Vodafone signal in several non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk region had been restored and the network was operational (see also SMM Daily Report 27 April 2018).

The SMM also continued to facilitate the access of Voda Donbassa employees to the DFS in order to keep the station operational. During the day on 28 April, positioned at the DFS, in Avdiivka, Kamianka and Kruta Balka,and at the railway station in Yasynuvata, the SMM recordedceasefire violations, including the use of a MLRS (see above), despite the provision of security guarantees. The SMM was forced to postpone its patrol to the DFS until the next day. Due to the non-adherence to the security guarantees, the DFS staff was unable to rotate on 28 April. On 29 April, the SMM facilitated demining activities in and around the DFS and the rotation of the DFS staff.

The SMM visited border areas outside government control. On 29 April, while at the border crossing point near Dovzhansk (84km south-east of Luhansk) for about an hour, the SMM saw 20 cars (ten with Russian Federation, nine with Ukrainian and one with Georgian licence plates), a bus with Ukrainian licence plates and an “Alchevsk-Luhansk-Yalta-Sevastopol” sign carrying about 50 passengers, four cargo trucks (content not visible) with Ukrainian licence plates, and ten pedestrians (three women, aged 30-50 and seven men, aged 25-60) exit Ukraine. The SMM observed ten cars (six with Russian Federation and four with Ukrainian licence plates), three minibuses with Ukrainian licence plates, three trucks (content not visible) with Ukrainian licence plates, a bus with Ukrainian licence plates and a “Rostov-Stakhanov” sign carrying about 40 passengers, and ten pedestrians (five women, aged 25-60 and five men, aged 20-60) enter Ukraine.

The same day, while at the border crossing point nearIzvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk) for about 20 minutes, the SMM saw 11 cars and 30 pedestrians (mixed women and men, aged 30-60) exit Ukraine. The SMM observed two buses with Ukrainian licence plates and “Moscow-Stakhanov” and “Voronezh-Luhansk” signs,as well as 20 pedestrians (seven women, aged 40-60 and 13 men aged 40-60) enter Ukraine. After about 15 minutes a member of the armed formationsapproached and told the SMM to leave the area. Five minutes later the SMM left the area.*

In Odessa, on 29 April the SMM monitored a gathering organised by a political party at the Duke of Richelieu monument on Prymorsky Boulevard. At the site the SMM saw three flags of the “Movement of New Forces” party and a tent as well as about 130 people (aged 15-60, women and men), including representatives of various political parties and about 15 law enforcement officers. During the gathering the SMM observed a calm situation

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