Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 28 October 2018

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This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions between the evenings of 26 and 27 October, compared with the previous reporting period. Between the evenings of 27 and 28 October, the Mission recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and fewer in Luhansk region, compared with the previous 24 hours. The Mission followed up on its long-range UAV that had gone missing near non-government-controlled Nyzhnokrynske. Small-arms fire was assessed as aimed at an SMM unmanned aerial vehicle near Metalist. The SMM saw weapons in violation of agreed withdrawal lines near Novookhtyrka and Novoaidar. It recorded ceasefire violations assessed as inside the Zolote disengagement area. The SMM’s access remained restricted in all three disengagement areas as well as near Zaichenko, Novoazovsk and Yuzhna-Lomuvatka.* The SMM monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable demining activities near Nyzhnoteple and Zolote-2/Karbonit and facilitated repairs to damaged houses in Marinka and Krasnohorivka. In Kyiv, the SMM monitored a public gathering in support of election reform.

In Donetsk region, between the evenings of 26 and 27 October, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations,[1] including about 110 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 90 explosions). Between the evenings of 27 and 28 October, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 270 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours.[2]

On the evening and night of 26-27 October, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS) (15km north of Donetsk) recorded two explosions assessed as airbursts and about 20 projectiles in flight (mostly from easterly to westerly directions), all 0.1-1km at southerly directions. It also recorded 36 explosions (two assessed as impacts, four as airbursts and the remainder undetermined) and about 80 projectiles in flight (mostly from north-west to south-east), all 1-4km at southerly directions. On the following evening and night, the same camera recorded 77 explosions (27 assessed as impacts and the remainder undetermined) and about 85 projectiles in flight (mostly from northerly to southerly directions), all 0.1-4km at southerly directions.

On the evening of 26 October, while in Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard ten undetermined explosions and about 190 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 3-6km south-east, south and west-south-west. During the day and evening of 27 October, at the same location, the SMM heard about 130 undetermined explosions and about 600 shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 2-6km east and at southerly directions.

On the evening and night of 27-28 October, the SMM camera 1.5km north-east of Hnutove (government-controlled, 20km north-east of Mariupol) recorded an undetermined explosion and about 225 projectiles in flight (mostly from north to south), all 1-4km in easterly directions.

During the day on 27 October, positioned in Sakhanka (non-government-controlled, 24km north-east of Mariupol), a town where the SMM has regularly been restricted access to (see below), the SMM heard three explosions (two assessed as outgoing mortar rounds and one as an outgoing round of an undetermined weapon) and about 75 bursts and shots of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) (30mm) cannon, heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 1-2km south, south-west and west.

In Luhansk region, between the evenings of 26 and 27 October, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including, however, a similar number of explosions (11), compared with the previous reporting period (10 explosions). Between the evenings of 27 and 28 October, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including eight explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours.[3]

On 27 October, while conducting a mini-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight near Metalist (non-government-controlled, 7km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard at least 30 shots of small-arms fire 1.2-1.4km north-north-west, in the area where the UAV was flying, assessed as aimed at the UAV. The SMM landed the UAV, which was undamaged, and departed the area.*

During the day on 27 October, positioned in Yuzhna-Lomuvatka (non-government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions and about 80 bursts of IFV (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) and heavy-machine-gun fire, all 5-7km west.

On 27 and 28 October, the SMM followed up on its long-range UAV that had gone missing while flying over an area south-east of Nyzhnokrynske (non-government-controlled, 66km east of Donetsk) (see SMM Spot Report 27 October 2018). The SMM had lost communication with its UAV at 01:53 on 27 October, about 30 seconds after the UAV’s flight path had suddenly become unstable. During these 30 seconds, the UAV lost its GPS signal, abruptly increased altitude for a very brief moment and deviated from its heading, after which it immediately began tumbling down, rapidly losing altitude.

On 27 October, an SMM mini-UAV flying over Nyzhnokrynske and Serhiieve-Krynka (non-government-controlled, 69km east of Donetsk) spotted multiple wheel tracks in a field about halfway between the aforementioned settlements. The SMM was not able to assess whether the tracks were fresh. Eight people in Nyzhnokrynske separately told the SMM that they had heard an explosion in a southerly direction between 01:45-2:00 on 27 October.

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[4] (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 28 October, positioned about 1km north of the Zolote disengagement area near Zolote-4/Rodina (government-controlled, 59km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard about 55 shots of small-arms fire 1-2km south-west (assessed as inside the disengagement area) and six shots of small-arms fire 2-3km north-west (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

On the evening of 26 October, the SMM camera in Zolote recorded three projectiles in flight from east-north-east to west-south-west 1-2km south-east, assessed as outside the disengagement area. During the day on 28 October, the same camera recorded 17 projectiles in flight (11 from south-west to north-east and six in vertical flight) 4-5km east-south-east, (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

Positioned inside the Stanytsia Luhanska and Zolote disengagement areas and near the Petrivske disengagement area during the day on 27 October, the SMM observed calm situations. Positioned inside the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area on 28 October, 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, on 27 October, the SMM saw nine self-propelled howitzers (2S19 Msta-S, 152mm) loaded on trucks in Novookhtyrka (55km north-west of Luhansk). On 28 October, the SMM saw four anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) being towed by trucks south-west of Novoaidar (49km north-west of Luhansk).

Beyond the respective withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites in government-controlled areas, on 27 October, the SMM saw two self-propelled howitzers (2S19) loaded onto trailers near Sievierodonetsk (74km north-west of Luhansk). On 28 October, the SMM saw six towed howitzers (2A65, Msta-B 152mm) and six self-propelled howitzers (2S19) stationary at the train station in Rubizhne (84km north-west of Luhansk), four towed howitzers (D-44, 85mm) loaded onto trucks near Oknyne (53km north-west of Luhansk) and four anti-tank guns (MT-12) being towed by trucks near Sloviansk (95km north of Donetsk).

On 27 October, the SMM revisited a heavy weapons permanent storage sites in a non-government-controlled area of Luhansk region whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines and noted that a multiple launch rocket system (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) remained missing.

The SMM observed an armoured combat vehicle and an anti-aircraft gun[5] in the security zone. In a government-controlled area, on 28 October, the SMM saw an IFV (BMP-variant) inside a compound in Zolote-3/Stakhanovets (61km west of Luhansk).

In a non-government-controlled area, on 27 October, the SMM saw an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23-2) near Katerynivka (formerly Yuvileine, 8km west of Luhansk).

On 27 October, the SMM saw a mobile radar system (AN/TPQ-36) near Sievierodonetsk, and on 28 October it saw 20 communications and/or electronic warfare vehicles (R-330U) stationary at the train station in Rubizhne.

On 27 October, the SMM monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable demining activities near Nyzhnoteple (government-controlled, 26km north of Luhansk) and Zolote-2/Karbonit (government-controlled, 62km west of Luhansk), as well as repairs to damaged houses in Marinka (government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk) and Krasnohorivka (government-controlled, 21km west of Donetsk). On 27 and 28 October, the SMM continued to facilitate the operation of the DFS.

The SMM observed demining activities. On 28 October, the SMM saw three men in civilian clothing, marking terrain with wooden sticks in an area about 2.5km north-west of Lebedynske (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Mariupol), assessed by the SMM as preparation work for demining.

In Kyiv, on 28 October, the SMM monitored a public gathering in support of election reform. On the way from Taras Shevchenko Park to Independence square, the SMM saw about 500 people (20-70 years old, 50 per cent women and 50 per cent men), with some participants displaying symbols of three political movements. The SMM saw about 300 police and National Guard officers present, and the gathering ended peacefully.

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