Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 13 June 2018

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission followed up on reports of civilian casualties in Holubivske. It observed fresh damage caused by shelling in a residential area of Pikuzy as well as damage to a school in Betmanove. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it observed military hardware inside the Zolote and Petrivske disengagement areas. The Mission’s access remained restricted in all three areas. The SMM observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near residential areas in Tarasivka as well as in Oleksandropil, Novoaidar and Topolyne. The Mission continued to facilitate the access of Voda Donbassa water company employees to the Donetsk Filtration Station through monitoring the security situation around the station. It continued to monitor and facilitate repairs to water pipelines near Holmivskyi and mine clearance at the entry-exit checkpoint near Maiorsk.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including, however, fewer explosions (about 150), compared with the previous reporting period (about 230 explosions).

On the evening and night of 12-13 June, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS) (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, three projectiles in flight from north-east to south-west, an undetermined explosion and eight projectiles from west to east, followed by totals of 23 undetermined explosions, two shots and about 155 projectiles (146 from west to east and nine from east to west), all 1-3km south, as well as an explosion assessed as an impact of a mortar or other artillery round less than 1 km south.

On the evening and night of 12 June, while in Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard an explosion assessed as an outgoing mortar round 4-5km south-east, as well as 61 undetermined explosions and about 250 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 2-9km at directions ranging from east to west.

On the evening and night of 12-13 June, the SMM camera at the entry-exit checkpoint in Maiorsk (government-controlled, 45km north-east of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, two projectiles in flight from south to north, three undetermined explosions, two projectiles from south to north and six projectiles from north to south, followed by totals of 12 undetermined explosions and 286 projectiles (212 from south to north, 69 from north to south, one from south-east to north-west and four from south-west to north-east), all 3-6km east. During the day on 13 June, positioned in Maiorsk, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 3-5km south.

During the day on 13 June, positioned on the northern edge of Holmivskyi (non-government-controlled, 49km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 15 undetermined explosions and 20 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 0.5-5km north-east and west-north-west.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including 21 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (two explosions).

During the day on 13 June, positioned in Komyshuvakha (government-controlled, 68km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions 10-12km south.

The SMM continued to follow up on reports of civilian casualties. At the hospital in Holubivka (formerly Kirovsk, non-government-controlled, 51km west of Luhansk), medical staff told the SMM that two patients were still being treated for injuries sustained during an explosion in a bus on 7 June (in which seven people were reportedly injured, see SMM Daily Report 13 June 2018). Medical staff added that one of the patients was a man (about 20 years old) who had suffered a concussion and the other was a woman (late fifties) who had a shrapnel wound to her right elbow, but that both were in stable condition. Medical staff said that another man (about 50 years old), the driver of the bus, had first been admitted to the hospital on 7 June with shrapnel wounds to his left eye and remnants of shrapnel in the bridge of his nose and then had been re-admitted on 12 June.

The SMM observed fresh damage caused by shelling in a residential area of Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, non-government-controlled, 23km north-east of Mariupol). On 13 June, the SMM saw a fresh crater (about 2m in diameter) 4m west of the west-facing wall of the school gym building, about 6m east of a barn in the yard of a house and 12m east of a residential building at 10 Pobedy Street. Shrapnel pieces were visible in the crater. The SMM also saw fresh shrapnel scarring on the west-facing wall of the gym (at least 50 marks) and on the east-facing wall of the barn (about ten marks), as well as corrugated asbestos panels that had been blown off the roof of the barn. Branches from trees and bushes 2-3m from the impact site showed fresh shrapnel marks. The SMM assessed the damage as caused by a 120mm mortar round fired from a west-south-westerly direction. A male resident (in his fifties) of 10 Pobedy Street told the SMM that he had heard explosions the evening of 12 June, one of which had impacted near his home.

In Betmanove (non-government-controlled, 23km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM followed up on reports of damage from gunfire to a school on Haharina Street. The SMM saw a broken north-west facing window in the ground floor office, a broken north-west facing window in the stairwell to the first floor and a bullet hole in the north-west facing wall. The SMM assessed the damage to have been caused by bullets fired from a north-westerly direction. According to a community representative and the head of the school, the damage had occurred on 11 and 12 June.

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.*

After midnight on 8 June, the SMM camera in Petrivske recorded, in sequence, four bursts from west to east, a projectile from north-west to south-east and a projectile from west-north-west to east-south-east, all 200-500m south and south-south-west (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

On 13 June, an SMM long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) inside the disengagement area near Petrivske, about 1.5km inside the south-western edge. On the same day, at a checkpoint of the armed formations near Petrivske and east of the north-eastern edge of the disengagement area, the SMM saw a stationary armoured combat vehicle (ACV) (BTR variant) and several men in military-style clothing loading or unloading ammunition, small arms and a small recoilless gun (SPG type) on a tripod, as well as an IFV (BMP variant) heading east.

On 12 June, an SMM mini-UAV again spotted two IFVs (BMP-1) and a member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces within a residential area on the southern edge of Katerynivka (government-controlled, 64km west of Luhansk) and an IFV (BMP-1) on the south-western edge of Katerynivka, all inside the disengagement area near Zolote (see SMM Daily Report 26 April 2018 and SMM Daily Report 13 June 2018).

On the night of 12-13 June, the SMM camera in Zolote recorded four undetermined explosions 5-15km east (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

During the day on 13 June, positioned in the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, the SMM observed a calm situation.

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons in implementation of the Memorandum and the Package of Measures and its Addendum.

In violation of withdrawal lines in government-controlled areas, an SMM mini-UAV on 12 June spotted five self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) about 100m from an abandoned school and residential buildings in Tarasivka (43km north-west of Donetsk), two self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) and two anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) in a residential area of Oleksandropil (43km north of Donetsk) and six self-propelled howitzers (2S3), two of which were probable, near Oleksandropil. On 13 June, the SMM saw six multiple launch rocket systems (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) in a military compound near Topolyne (19km north-west of Mariupol) and a self-propelled howitzer (2S3) loaded on a flatbed truck heading west near Novoaidar (49km north-west of Luhansk).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside of designated storage sites in government-controlled areas, an SMM mini-UAV on 12 June spotted eight tanks (T-64) near Zelene Pole (40km north-west of Donetsk) and three surface-to-air missile systems (9K35 Strela-10) about 80m from an abandoned school and residential buildings near Tarasivka (see SMM Daily Report 24 May 2018).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites in a non-government-controlled area, the SMM saw three tanks (two T-64 and one T-72) at a training area near Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk).

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 in Donetsk region, the SMM noted for the first time that two weapons holding areas were abandoned with eight towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm) and 18 anti-tank guns (MT-12) missing, including five towed howitzers (2A36) and six anti-tank guns (MT-12) missing for the first time.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles in the security zone. In a government-controlled area, on 12 June, an SMM mini-UAV spotted an IFV (BMP-1) near Kriakivka (38km north-west of Luhansk). In a non-government-controlled area, on 13 June, the SMM saw an IFV (BMP) and an ACV (BTR) near Petrivske (see above).

In Boikivske (formerly Telmanove, non-government-controlled, 67km south-east of Donetsk), at the gate of a house, the SMM saw an advertisement by the armed formations (a poster with a picture of a tank) of vacancies for tank operators and free courses for operating tanks.

The SMM continued to facilitate the access of Voda Donbassa water company employees to and from the DFS, as well as demining activities around the station, through monitoring adherence to the ceasefire. Positioned in areas near the DFS, the SMM heard ceasefire violations, despite explicit security guarantees (see above and the table below for ceasefire violations). The SMM noted that a previously reported 82mm mortar shell tailfin located between the DFS and Kamianka (government-controlled, 20km north of Donetsk) (see SMM Daily Report 11 June 2018) had been removed.

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs to 3km of a water pipeline near Holmivskyi by a Voda Donbassa repair team. It also facilitated mine clearance at the entry-exit checkpoint near Maiorsk by an international organization.

The SMM visited two border areas not under government control. While at a border crossing point near Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk) for 30 minutes, the SMM saw a bus and a minibus (both with Ukrainian licence plates) exiting Ukraine and six cars (five with Russian Federation and one with Ukrainian licence plates) and a bus and a minibus (both with Ukrainian licence plates) entering Ukraine. The SMM also saw, among other vehicles, 20 trucks with semi-trailers (eight with Ukrainian licence plates, of which two were uncovered empty trailers and the remainder had covered cargo areas, including two cooler trailers; two with Russian Federation licence plates, three with Belarusian licence plates and covered cargo areas, including one cooler trailer, as well as seven with “DPR” plates and covered cargo areas, including one cooler trailer) in a queue to exit Ukraine.

While at a pedestrian border crossing point near Ulianivske (61km south-east of Donetsk) for 20 minutes, the SMM observed no pedestrians present.

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

*Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate

The SMM’s monitoring and freedom of movement are restricted by security hazards and threats, including risks posed by mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO), and other impediments – which vary from day to day. The SMM’s mandate provides for safe and secure access throughout Ukraine. All signatories of the Package of Measures have agreed on the need for this safe and secure access, that restriction of the SMM’s freedom of movement constitutes a violation, and on the need for rapid response to these violations. They have also agreed that the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) should contribute to such response and co-ordinate mine clearance. Nonetheless, the armed formations in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions frequently deny the SMM access to areas adjacent to Ukraine’s border outside control of the Government (see SMM Daily Report 12 June 2018). The SMM’s operations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions remain restricted following the fatal incident of 23 April 2017 near Pryshyb; these restrictions continued to limit the Mission’s observations.