Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 25 October 2018

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The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and more in Luhansk region, compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission followed up on reports of civilian casualties as a result of a mine explosion near Zalizne. The SMM’s access remained restricted in all three disengagement areas as well as near Verkhnoshyrokivske and Novoazovsk, near the border with the Russian Federation.* The Mission continued to facilitate the operation of the Donetsk Filtration Station. The SMM also facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to power lines near Zolote-5/Mykhailivka, as well as to enable demining in Zolote-2/Karbonit and Novotroitske. The Mission observed a convoy of trucks marked, “Humanitarian Aid from the Russian Federation”, in a non-government-controlled area of Donetsk region.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations,[1] including, however, more explosions (about 200), compared with the previous reporting period (140 explosions).

On the evening of 24 October, while in Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 60 undetermined explosions and about 230 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 2-8km at directions ranging from south-east to south-west. The following day, while in the same location, the SMM heard about 40 undetermined explosions and about 20 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 2-6km at directions ranging from south-east to south-west.

On the evening and night of 24-25 October, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS) (15km north of Donetsk) recorded an undetermined explosion 0.5-1km south-west as well as about 25 undetermined explosions and about 30 projectiles in flight (mostly from westerly to easterly directions), all 1-4km at south-westerly directions.

During the day on 25 October, positioned in Manuilivka (non-government-controlled, 65km east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 40 undetermined explosions and about 30 bursts of small-arms fire, all 3-8km west (assessed as live-fire training outside the security zone). (The SMM observed five tanks in the same area. See below.)

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including 60 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (45 explosions).

During the day on 25 October, positioned on the south-eastern edge of Kalynove-Borshchuvate (non-government-controlled, 61km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard about 50 undetermined explosions and 120 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 7-10km south-west.

The SMM followed up on reports of civilian casualties near Zalizne (government-controlled, 42km north-east of Donetsk). On 24 October, at a hospital in Toretsk (government-controlled, 43km north of Donetsk), the SMM saw a man (aged 31) with a small bandage on his left wrist and another man (aged 39) with no visible injuries. They told the SMM that on the afternoon of 23 October near Zalizne, while one of them had been driving a truck and the other an excavator (a few metres behind the truck) in a field, as part of repair works to water pipelines in the area, they had heard a loud explosion and immediately later felt a blast. Medical staff at the same hospital told the SMM that the two men had been admitted with “shell shock” on the afternoon of 23 October. An employee of the Voda Donbassa water company told the SMM by telephone that on the afternoon of 23 October, he had heard an explosion about 1km away from the location of the drivers near Zalizne, gone to the scene and seen them slightly injured and in shock as a result of a mine blast. He added that he had seen damage to the lower part of the cargo area of the truck. (On the afternoon of 23 October, while monitoring the ceasefire and facilitating the abovementioned repair works, the SMM heard a loud undetermined explosion in the area. See SMM Daily Report 24 October 2018.)

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.*

During the day on 25 October, positioned in the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area and near the Zolote and Petrivske disengagement areas, the SMM observed calm situations.

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons in implementation of the Memorandum and the Package of Measures and its Addendum.[3]

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites in non-government-controlled areas, on 24 October, an SMM mini-unmanned aerial vehicle spotted 31 tanks (23 T-64 and eight T-72) in a training area near Kruhlyk (31km south-west of Luhansk) (for previous observations in the area see SMM Daily Report 17 October 2018). On 25 October, the SMM observed five tanks (type undetermined) in a training area near Manuilivka (see above).

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and an anti-aircraft gun[4] in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) near Hirske (63km west of Luhansk), two armoured personnel carriers (APC) (BTR-60) and an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) near Makarove (19km north-east of Luhansk), two infantry fighting vehicles (BMP-2) near Zaitseve (62km north-east of Donetsk) and an APC (BTR-80) near Novotroitske (36km south-west of Donetsk).

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to power lines near Zolote-5/Mykhailivka (non-government-controlled, 58km west of Luhansk) as well as to facilitate the operation of the DFS. The SMM also monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable demining in Zolote-2/Karbonit (government-controlled, 62km west of Luhansk) and in agricultural fields in Novotroitske.

The SMM observed a convoy of trucks marked “Humanitarian Aid from the Russian Federation” in a non-government-controlled area of Donetsk region (for previous observations of a similar convoy, see SMM Daily Report 28 September 2018). On the morning of 25 October, the SMM saw a convoy of 45 vehicles escorted by two cars with “DPR” plates heading west near Makiivka (12km north-east of Donetsk). The convoy consisted of 38 covered cargo trucks (28 with Russian Federation licence plates and ten with white-on-black plates), including 14 with “Humanitarian aid from the Russian Federation” in Cyrillic written on them, and seven vehicles marked “MChS” with white-on-black plates (four covered cargo trucks, two cars and a minibus).

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