Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 5 November 2018

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 24 hours. It observed damage caused by gunfire in a residential area of Dokuchaievsk. The SMM saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line. The SMM recorded ceasefire violations near the Petrivske and Zolote disengagement areas and military presence inside the Petrivske disengagement area. The Mission’s access remained restricted in all three disengagement areas; it was also restricted near Novoazovsk and Dovzhanske – close to the border with the Russian Federation – and near Zaichenko, Bezimenne and Naberezhne.* The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to power lines near Vesela Hora and to damaged houses in Marinka and Krasnohorivka, as well as to enable demining near Nyzhnoteple. In Odessa, the SMM followed up on reports of vandalism to a monument. In Kropyvnytskyi, Kirovohrad region, the SMM followed up on reports of a grenade attack against a social activist.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations[1], including, however, fewer explosions (about 235), compared with the previous 24 hours (about 260 explosions).[2]

On the evening of 4 November, while in Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 100 undetermined explosions and about 250 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all at an assessed range of 3-7km at directions ranging from east to south-west. During the day on 5 November, at the same location, the SMM heard about 90 undetermined explosions and about 480 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all at an assessed range of 3-6km south-east.

On the night of 4-5 November, the SMM camera 1.5km north-east of Hnutove (government-controlled, 20km north-east of Mariupol) recorded two undetermined explosions and about 90 projectiles in flight (mostly from south to north), all at an assessed range of 2-5km at easterly directions.

During the day on 5 November, positioned about 1km north-west of the railway station in Yasynuvata (non-government-controlled, 16km north-east of Donetsk) for about five hours, the SMM heard 14 undetermined explosions and about 30 shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all at an assessed range of 1.5-5km north and in south-westerly directions.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including ten explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours (about 420 explosions).

The SMM followed up on reports of damage from gunfire in a residential area of Dokuchaievsk (non-government-controlled, 30km south-west of Donetsk). The SMM saw a hole, about 3cm in size, in both layers of a double-glazed south-west-facing window of a second floor apartment in a four-storey building at 49 Lenina Street. The SMM assessed that the fire came from a south-westerly direction. The resident of the apartment (woman, 51 years old) told the SMM that she had noticed the broken window about two weeks previously and had not been at home when the damage had occurred.

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[3] (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 400m north of the Zolote disengagement area, the SMM heard four undetermined explosions at an assessed range of 4-8km east (assessed as outside the disengagement area). The SMM also saw three empty cargo trucks with Russian Federation licence plates moving from the checkpoint of the armed formations on the southern edge of the Zolote disengagement area north-east inside the disengagement area. About 30 minutes later, the SMM saw two of these trucks loaded with coal heading south-west inside the disengagement area.

On 3 November, an SMM long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted, inside the Petrivske disengagement area, a 16m extension of an existing trench about 500m south of the northern edge of the disengagement area and 1.4km east of its western edge, as well as a 17m extension of an existing trench about 850m north of the southern edge of the disengagement area and about 1.9km east of its western edge (both extensions were not visible in imagery from 2 November 2018). On the same day, inside the disengagement area, the same UAV spotted five people, assessed as Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel, near existing defensive positions.

Positioned in 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 withdrawal lines in non-government-controlled areas, on 3 November, an SMM long-range UAV spotted 27 tanks (T-72) (most of them with the engine cover opened) and two self-propelled howitzers (one 2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm and one 2S19 Msta-S, 152mm) in the Leninskyi district of Donetsk city and a tank (T-72) near Sarabash (26km south of Donetsk).

In violation of withdrawal lines in government-controlled areas, on 4 November, an SMM long-range UAV spotted a surface-to-air missile system (9K35 Strela-10) near Chystyi Kliuch (26km north-west of Donetsk) and two towed howitzers (probable D-20, 152mm) near Rybynske (49km south of Donetsk).

Beyond the respective withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites in government-controlled areas, on 4 November, an SMM long-range UAV spotted ten towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) near Novomaiorske (64km south-west of Donetsk) and two tanks (T-64) on transporters near Stara Krasnianka (92km north-west of Luhansk). On 5 November, the SMM saw three surface-to-air missile systems (9K35 Strela-10) on train cars travelling south near Khlibodarivka (65km south-west of Donetsk).

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles (ACV), anti-aircraft guns and other indications of military presence in the security zone.[4] In government‑controlled areas, on 3 November, an SMM long-range UAV spotted 13 armoured personnel carriers (APC) (both BTR-70 and BTR-80) and an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-1) parked near residential houses in Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk); two armoured reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM-2), three IFVs (BMP-1) and four APCs (MT-LB) near Zoloti Pisky (12km north-west of Donetsk); four probable APCs (MT-LB) and three probable IFVs (BMP-1) near Krasnohorivka (21km west of Donetsk); and two IFVs (BMP-1) near Bohdanivka (41km south-west of Donetsk). On 4 November, an SMM long-range UAV spotted a new 40m trench extension about 7km north-east of Starohnativka (51km south of Donetsk). The same day, an SMM long-range UAV spotted two anti-aircraft guns (ZU-23-2, 23mm) and an ACV (type undetermined) near Chystyi Kliuch, an ACV (type undetermined) near Halytsynivka (29km north-west of Donetsk), two ACVs (type undetermined) near Mykolaivka (40km south of Donetsk), an IFV (type undetermined) and an ACV (type undetermined) near Bohdanivka and an IFV (BMP-2) and two ACVs (type undetermined) near Starohnativka.

On 5 November, the SMM saw an APC (BTR-80) near Zolote-2/Karbonit (62km north-west of Luhansk), two IFVs (BMP-1) outside the northern edge of the Zolote disengagement area, two armoured reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM-2) and an IFV (BMP-2) near Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk), an APC (BTR-80) in Selidove (41km north-west of Donetsk) and an IFV (BTR-4) near Novobakhmutivka (28km north of Donetsk). The same day, the SMM camera in Kriakivka (38km north-west of Luhansk) recorded an IFV (BMP-1) near Kriakivka in a location where multiple ceasefire violations were recorded (see table below).

In non-government-controlled areas, on 3 November, an SMM long-range UAV spotted six APCs (two BTR-70/80 and four MT-LB), 32 IFVs (BMP-1 and BMP-2, assessed as not operational) and an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) in the Leninskyi district of Donetsk City; two IFVs (BMP-1) and four APCs (one BTR-70/80 and three MT-LB) in Kalmiuske (42km south-east of Donetsk); and an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) and an IFV (BMP-1) near Styla (34km south of Donetsk). On 4 November, an SMM long-range UAV spotted an ACV (type undetermined) near Novolaspa (50km south of Donetsk), an APC (BTR-80) near Petrivske (about 1km east of the disengagement area) and an IFV (BMP-1) in the western outskirts of Petrivske (outside the disengagement area, about 80m north of its northern edge). On 4 November, the SMM saw an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23-2) near Makiivka (12km north-east of Donetsk) and an IFV (BMP-1) near Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk).

The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repair works to electrical power lines near Vesela Hora (non-government-controlled, 16km north of Luhansk) and damaged houses in Marinka (government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk) and Krasnohorivka (government-controlled, 21km west of Donetsk), as well as to enable demining activities in Nyzhnoteple (government-controlled, 26km north of Luhansk). The Mission continued to facilitate the operation of the Donetsk Filtration Station.

The SMM observed demining activities and new mine hazard signs. Near Myrna Dolyna (government-controlled, 67km north-west of Luhansk), on both sides of road P-66, the SMM saw seven people in civilian clothing clearing vegetation. About 800m south-east of Kaplany (non-government-controlled, 36km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM encountered for the first time a barrier of large tree branches spanning the road and a red mine hazard sign with a skull and crossbones and “Stop Mines” in Russian and “Danger Mines” in English, also seen for the first time. The SMM also saw a barrier of large tree branches across another road about 800m south of Kaplany, and a black sign with a white skull and crossbones and “Mines” written in Russian.

The SMM continued to monitor the conditions of civilians at the Stanytsia Luhanska entry-exit checkpoint. The Mission saw a man (45 years old) being transported by medical emergency services after they said he had fainted while waiting to pass the Ukrainian Armed Forces entry-exit checkpoint. Medical staff added that he had been transported to a hospital in Stanytsia Luhanska, and that based on his symptoms the patient had suffered a stroke. Five people at the entry-exit checkpoint separately told the SMM that it had taken them one hour to pass through the checkpoint of the armed formations and three more hours to enter government-controlled areas at the entry-exit checkpoint of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The SMM visited a border area outside government control. While at a border crossing point near Dovzhanske (84km south-east of Luhansk) for about 20 minutes, the SMM saw five cars (three with Ukrainian and two with Russian federation licence plates) and two covered cargo trucks with Ukrainian licence plates exiting Ukraine and seven cars (two with Ukrainian, three with Russian Federation, one with Georgian and one with Lithuanian licence plates) and three covered cargo trucks with Ukrainian licence plates entering Ukraine. Two members of the armed formations told the SMM to leave the area.*

In Odessa, the SMM followed up on media reports of vandalism to a monument related to the 1918 Bolshevik Uprising in the city. At Kulykove Pole, on 4 November, the SMM saw fresh writing ("Glory to Ukraine" and "Glory to the nation!") spray-painted in Ukrainian language and six red-and-black flags painted on the corners of the monument (for a similar incident at the same location, see SMM Daily Report 3 July 2018).

In Kropyvnytskyi (206km west of Dnipro), Kirovohrad region, the SMM followed up on media reports of a grenade attack against a social activist. On 4 November, in a courtyard of a two storey house at 23/1 Bratyslavska Street, the SMM observed a small crater with splash marks in the asphalt surface surrounding the crater, assessed as consistent with damage caused by an explosion of a grenade, as well as shrapnel damage to nearby aluminum window frames (filled in with polymer), metal house siding and a rain gutter. The resident of the house, a social activist who said he was campaigning in favor of the construction of a cathedral for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate in the town, told the SMM that around 03:00 on 12 October 2018, while he had been at home at the same address with his wife and their six-year-old child, he had been woken up by the sound of an explosion in the courtyard of their house. Regional police told the SMM that the attack had been registered under Article 296 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism).

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