Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 31 October 2018

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This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, compared with the previous reporting period. At a hospital in Donetsk city, the Mission saw a man with two legs amputated, reportedly due to a mine explosion. The SMM observed a weapon in violation of the agreed withdrawal lines near Voitove. It recorded ceasefire violations near the Petrivske and the Zolote disengagement areas. The SMM’s access remained restricted in all three disengagement areas; it was also restricted near Novoazovsk – an area close to the border with the Russian Federation – Staromykhailivka, Novolaspa, and again near Zaichenko and Bezimenne.* The Mission facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to the phenol sludge reservoir near Zalizne and to critical civilian infrastructure in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as to enable demining near Nyzhnoteple, Zolote-2/Karbonit and Novotroitske. In Kyiv, the SMM monitored a public gathering related to utility prices.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations[1], including about 130 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 610 explosions).

On the evening and night of 30-31 October, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS) (15km north of Donetsk) recorded 28 undetermined explosions and 20 projectiles in flight, all 0.5-3km south and south-west.

On the evening of 30 October, while in Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 50 undetermined explosions and 75 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 3-7km at southerly directions.

On the evening of 30 October, the SMM camera in Chermalyk (government-controlled, 31km north-east of Mariupol) recorded six undetermined explosions and about 170 projectiles in flight (mostly from easterly to westerly directions), all 2-5km at directions ranging from south-east to south.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including three explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 30 explosions).

The Mission followed up on reports of a civilian casualty in Donetsk city. At a trauma hospital in Donetsk city, the SMM saw a man (in his thirties) with both lower legs missing and bandages covering his knees and left hand, as well as multiple injuries on his body and face. He told the Mission that on the afternoon of 19 October he had been walking on soft ground towards his neighbour’s yard at 121 Zeleny Gai in the Trudivski area of Donetsk city’s Petrovskyi district (non-government-controlled, 15km south-west of Donetsk city centre) when he had heard crackling sounds and explosions, and that when he had looked down he had realized he had lost a leg. Medical staff at the hospital told the SMM the man had been admitted on 19 October after a mine explosion and had had both his legs amputated below the knees.

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 31 October, positioned in Petrivske, the SMM heard a burst of small-arms fire 1-2km south-east (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

On the same day, positioned on the southern edge of the Zolote disengagement area, the SMM heard an explosion assessed as an impact of a round of an undetermined weapon 2-3km north-north-east (assessed as outside the disengagement area). The Mission saw a black Volkswagen Passat, with military licence plates and a man in military uniform inside, driving inside the Zolote disengagement area.

Positioned inside 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 the agreed withdrawal lines in a government-controlled area, the SMM saw a surface-to-air-missile-system (9K33 Osa) west of Voitove (33km north-west of Luhansk).

Beyond the respective withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites in government-controlled areas, on 30 October, an SMM long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted 12 towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) on trucks near Novomaiorske (64km south-west of Donetsk). On 31 October, an SMM mini-UAV spotted a surface-to-air missile system (9K31 Strela-1) near Mariupol (102km south of Donetsk). On the same day, the SMM saw a surface-to-air missile system (9K33) near Novoaidar (49km north-west of Luhansk).

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles, an anti-aircraft gun[3] and other indications of military and military-type presence in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, on 30 October, the SMM observed two armoured personnel carriers (APC) (a BTR-60 and a BTR-80A) in Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk), an APC (BTR-4) near Novobakhmutivka (28km north of Donetsk), two infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) (BMP-1) and an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) on a truck near Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) and four armoured reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM variants): two near Makarove (19km north-east of Luhansk) and two near Stanytsia Luhanska. On 30 October, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted two new trench extensions totalling about 35 metres, one connected to a residential house, and an IFV (BMP-2) on the eastern edge of Zolote-4/Rodina (59km north-west of Luhansk), as well as two new trenches totalling about 70m in length north of Zolote-4/Rodina about 1km north of the aforementioned trench extensions (all not visible in imagery from 10 October 2018).

In non-government-controlled areas, 200m east of the abovementioned trenches on the eastern edge of Zolote-4/Rodina, on 30 October, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted three new trenches (in total about 75m), two of which were connected to a house, on the northern edge of Zolote-5/Mykhailivka (58km west of Luhansk). The UAV also spotted six new firing positions and a new 30m-long trench about 300m north of these trenches (all not visible in imagery from 10 October 2018).

The SMM observed demining activities. In a field about 2.5km south from Lomakyne (government-controlled, 15km north-east of Mariupol), on the northern side of road T0519, the SMM observed four Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers using probing sticks and a tractor with mine sweeping equipment in its rear. On the western side of road H20, about 4.5km north-east of Volnovakha (government-controlled, 53km south-west of Donetsk), the Mission saw a square-shaped red-and-white sign saying “Distance to a mine field 300 metres” in Ukrainian. In the field, it saw wooden sticks connected by white tape, as well as fresh vehicle tracks.

The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repair works to the Petrivske water pumping station near Artema (government-controlled, 26km north of Luhansk), the water distribution channel in Donetskyi (non-government-controlled, 49km west of Luhansk) and the phenol sludge reservoir near Zalizne (government-controlled, 42km north-east of Donetsk), as well as to enable demining activities near Nyzhnoteple (government-controlled, 26km north of Luhansk), Zolote-2/Karbonit (62km west of Luhansk) and Novotroitske (government-controlled, 36km south-west of Donetsk). The Mission continued to facilitate the operation of the DFS.

The SMM continued to monitor the situation of civilians at entry-exit checkpoints. At the checkpoint of the armed formations south of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, the Mission saw the body of an elderly man lying on the ground next to a container of an international organization. A representative of the organization told the SMM that earlier in the morning the man’s body had been left near their container, after the man (in his seventies) reportedly had died from a heart attack on the wooden ramps connecting the broken parts of the bridge, and that the corpse would be taken to a morgue.

In Kyiv, the SMM monitored a public gathering in front of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine building at 12/2 Mykhaila Hrushevskoho Street. The Mission saw about 350 people (mostly young men and elderly women) protesting rising utility prices, some holding flags of a political party and some expressing statements critical of the government. It saw 40 police officers in riot gear and 20 National Guard officers present. The Mission observed the protest end peacefully.

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