Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 23 October 2018

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This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and fewer in Luhansk region, compared with the previous reporting period. The SMM facilitated and monitored the recovery of the bodies of a man and a woman from a location near the neighbourhood of Vilnyi, between Zolote-4/Rodina and Zolote-5/Mykhailivka in Luhansk region. The SMM’s access remained restricted in all three disengagement areas as well as again near Zaichenko, Novoazovsk, Lebedynske and Alchevsk.* The SMM saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near Miusynsk. The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to critical civilian infrastructure on both sides of the contact line in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as to enable demining in Zolote-2/Karbonit and Nyzhnoteple. The SMM followed up on reports of a fire at a café in Odessa.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 150 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 140 explosions).

On the evening and night of 22-23 October, while in Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 115 undetermined explosions and about 950 bursts and shots of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire, all at distances ranging 2-6km at southerly directions.

On the evening and night of 22-23 October, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS) (15km north of Donetsk) recorded three undetermined explosions and a projectile in flight from north-west to south-east, all 1-4km south-south-west.

During the day on 23 October, positioned about 1km north-west of the railway station in Yasynuvata (non-government-controlled, 16km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard and saw four undetermined explosions and heard two undetermined explosions and four bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 2-4km at southerly directions.

Positioned in Hranitne (government-controlled, 60km south of Donetsk), the SMM heard 15 undetermined explosions 2km north-north-east.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations (one explosion), compared with the previous reporting period (about 15 explosions).

The SMM facilitated and monitored the recovery of the bodies of a man and a woman (both in their forties) from a location near the neighbourhood of Vilnyi, between the forward positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces east of Zolote-4/Rodina (government-controlled 59km west of Luhansk) and the forward positions of the armed formations in Zolote-5/Mykhailivka (non-government-controlled, 58km west of Luhansk). Reportedly, they died as a result of the explosion of a device on 18 October at the aforementioned location. On 23 October, the SMM saw three vehicles belonging to the armed formations, one of which had a demining sign on it, as well as two vehicles of an international organization, arriving at Zolote-5/Mykhailivka. A member of the armed formations, who disembarked from one of the vehicles, told the SMM that a demining team of the armed formations would recover the two bodies. Meanwhile, in Zolote-4/Rodina, Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel told the SMM that a Ukrainian Armed Forces demining team was present and ready to intervene if necessary. After about two hours, the SMM saw all vehicles depart Zolote-5/Mykhailivka and head towards Vilnyi. SMM mini-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), which were flying over the area at that time, spotted a group of about five to ten people with demining equipment recover a body, assessed as the body of the woman. About one hour and a half later, the SMM saw that all vehicles had returned to Zolote-5/Mykhailivka. Subsequently, a representative of the international organization and members of the armed formations told the SMM that both bodies had been recovered and would be brought to a morgue in Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, non-government-controlled, 50km west of Luhansk).

During its presence near Zolote-5/Mykhailivka, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 1km north-north-west (see below). In the past weeks, SMM UAVs spotted recently dug trenches, firing positions and anti-tank mines near and within residential areas of Zolote-5/Mykhailivka (see SMM Daily Report 10 October 2018 and SMM Daily Report 11 October 2018) as well as near Zolote-4/Rodina (see SMM Daily Report 26 September 2018). In the same area, in some points, the distance between the known forward positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the armed formations is about 500m.

The SMM continued to monitor 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[2] (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.*

Positioned in Zolote-5/Mykhailivka, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 1km north-north-west (assessed as outside the Zolote disengagement area).

Positioned near the Stanytsia Luhanska and Petrivske disengagement areas, 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 the respective withdrawal lines in non-government-controlled areas, on 17 October, aerial imagery available to the SMM revealed the presence of eight multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) (type undetermined) in a training area about 6km south-east of the centre of Miusynsk (62km south-west of Luhansk) (for previous observations in the area, see SMM Daily Report 30 May 2018).[3]

Beyond the respective withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites in a government-controlled area, on 23 October, the SMM saw two tanks (T-64) on flatbed trailers heading south on road E-40, near Bakhmut (formerly Artemivsk, 67km north of Donetsk).

Beyond the respective withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites in a non-government-controlled area, on 17 October, aerial imagery available to the SMM revealed the presence of 12 pieces of towed artillery or mortar in 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 non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk region beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM noted that six MLRS (BM-21 Grad, 122mm), four anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm), six towed howitzers (D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm), six self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) and 12 mortars (11 PM-38, 120mm and one 2B11 Sani, 120mm) continued to be missing.

The SMM revisited a heavy weapons permanent storage site in a government-controlled area of Donetsk region, whose location was beyond the respective withdrawal lines, and noted that 11 tanks (seven T-72 and four T-64) continued to be missing.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles (ACV) and an anti-aircraft gun[4] in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw an armoured personnel carrier (APC) (BTR-80) near Netailove (22km north-west of Donetsk), an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) near Romanivka (41km north of Donetsk), an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) in Petrivka (27km north of Luhansk) and three infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) (two BMP-2 and one BMP-1) in Troitske (69km west of Luhansk).

In a non-government-controlled area, on 23 October, an SMM mini-UAV spotted an ACV (type undetermined), 11 IFVs (BMP-1) and an APC (MT-LB) near Dovhe (22km north-west of Luhansk).

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to the phenol sludge reservoir near Zalizne (formerly Artemove, government-controlled, 42km north-east of Donetsk) and Horlivka (non-government-controlled, 39km north-east of Donetsk) as well as water pipelines near Zalizne. While monitoring the ceasefire for these repair works from a position on the north-west outskirts of Horlivka, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion about 2-3km north-west. The SMM also facilitated and monitored repair works to the Petrivske pumping station near Artema (government-controlled, 26km north of Luhansk), the Aidar water pumping station near Raivka (non-government-controlled, 16km north-west of Luhansk), water wells in Krasnyi Lyman (non-government-controlled, 30km north-west of Luhansk) and power lines in Zolote-5/Mykhailivka. The SMM continued to monitor adherence to the ceasefire to enable demining in Zolote-2/Karbonit (government-controlled, 62km west of Luhansk) and in Nyzhnoteple (government-controlled, 26km north of Luhansk). The SMM continued to facilitate the operation of the DFS.

In Odessa, the SMM followed up on reports of a fire at a café at 36A Henuezka Street. At the site, the SMM observed that the interior of the one-floor building had entirely burnt down. A man (aged 50), who introduced himself as an Israeli citizen and the co-owner of the café, told the SMM that the fire had happened on 22 October around 05:00. He added that, at that time, a woman, an employee of the café, had been on the premises, when she had heard the sound of a breaking window and seen that a device which had exploded had been thrown into the café. An officer from the Prymorksyi Fire Department in Odessa told the SMM that they had responded to the fire and that they were investigating whether the fire was caused by arson.

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