Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 26 October 2018

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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 SMM observed damage to a civilian property in the Trudivski area of Donetsk city’s Petrovskyi district. It recorded small-arms fire inside the Zolote disengagement area. The SMM saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near Khoroshe. The SMM’s access remained restricted in all three disengagement areas.* The Mission continued to facilitate the operation of the Donetsk Filtration Station. It facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to the Petrivske pumping station near Artema, power lines in Berehove, houses in Marinka, Krasnohorivka and Avdiivka, as well as to enable demining activities near Nyzhnoteple.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations[1], including fewer explosions (about 90), compared with the previous reporting period (about 200 explosions).

On the evening of 25 October, while in Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 13 undetermined explosions 5-7km at southerly directions as well as about 210 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 1-7km at directions ranging from south-east to south-west. The following day, while in the same location, the SMM heard about ten bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 2-3km south-east.

On the evening of 25 October, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS) (15km north of Donetsk) recorded 15 undetermined explosions 0.5-3km at southerly directions and about 30 projectiles in flight (mostly from west to east) 1-4km at south-westerly directions. The same camera also recorded an undetermined explosion 100-150m south.

During the day on 26 October, positioned on the eastern edge of Kamianka (government-controlled, 20km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard 34 undetermined explosions and about 45 bursts and shots of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire, all 2-8km at directions ranging from east-south-east to north-west.

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

During the day on 26 October, positioned about 1km north-east of Kriakivka (government-controlled, 38km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard five explosions assessed as outgoing (120mm) mortar rounds 2-3km south-west.

Positioned on the northern edge of Sentianivka (formerly Frunze, non-government-controlled, 44km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard five undetermined explosions 6-8km north-west.

The SMM observed damage to a civilian property in the Trudivski area of Donetsk city’s Petrovskyi district (non-government-controlled, 15km south-west of Donetsk city centre). At 41 Bezlisna Street, in the kitchen of an apartment on the ground floor of a two-storey house, the SMM saw a west-north-west-facing shattered window, fresh shrapnel damage to the furniture and several holes in the room’s north-north-east-, east-south-east- and south-south-west-facing walls. It also saw scorch marks on the kitchen floor. The SMM assessed the damage as caused by a (30mm) round fired from a west-south-westerly direction. In the bedroom of the same apartment, the SMM saw a hole in the north-facing window and pieces of shrapnel on the floor; it could not assess the calibre of the weapon used or the direction of fire. A resident of the apartment (a man, aged 46) and his neighbour (a woman, aged 59) told the SMM that they had heard gunfire in the area on 24 October around 14:00.

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 about 3km north of Pervomaisk (non-government-controlled, 58km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 12 shots of small-arms fire 2-3km north-west, assessed as inside 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 withdrawal lines in a non-government-controlled area, on 25 October, an SMM long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted three tanks (T-72) near Khoroshe (36km 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, the SMM saw eight self-propelled howitzers (2S19 Msta-B, 152mm), of which two for the first time, four anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) and three anti-tank guided missile systems (9P149 Shturm-S, 130mm). It noted that two self-propelled howitzers (2S19), eight towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm) and four anti-tank guns (MT-12) continued to be missing.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles[3] and other indications of military-type presence in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, on 25 October, an SMM long-range UAV spotted an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM variant) near Novozvanivka (70km west of Luhansk), two armoured personnel carriers (APC) (BTR-variant) near Lopaskyne (23km north-west of Luhansk) and three infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) (BMP-1) and an APC (MT-LB) near Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk). On 26 October, the SMM saw an IFV (BMP-2) in Zaitseve (62km north-east of Donetsk).

In non-government-controlled areas, on 25 October, an SMM long-range UAV spotted six probable IFVs (BMP variant) near Burchak-Mykhailivka (14km east of Luhansk), two APCs (one MT-LB and one BTR variant) and an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) in Luhansk city as well as two probable APCs (BTR variant) and a TORN radio intelligence system on a truck (KamAZ) near Khoroshe.

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to the Petrivske pumping station near Artema (government-controlled, 26km north of Luhansk), power lines in Berehove (non-government-controlled, 23km east of Luhansk), as well as to residential houses, which have sustained damage since the beginning of the conflict, in Marinka (government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk), Krasnohorivka (government-controlled, 21km north-west of Donetsk) and Avdiivka (government-controlled, 17km north of Donetsk). The SMM also monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable demining activities near Nyzhnoteple (government-controlled, 26km north of Luhansk). The SMM continued to facilitate the operation of the DFS.

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 (for example, SMM Daily Report 26 October 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.