Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 11 January 2019

KYIV 12 January 2019

This report is for the media and the general public.

Summary

  • Compared with the previous reporting period, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and more in Luhansk region.

  • The SMM recorded ceasefire violations and saw military presence and anti-aircraft guns inside the Zolote disengagement area. It recorded ceasefire violations near the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area.

  • The Mission observed weapons in violation of the withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line. The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repair works to essential civilian infrastructure in Luhansk region.

  • In Kyiv, the Mission monitored a protestduring which protestors expressed views critical of veterans and of the Ministry for Veterans Affairs.

  • In Zhytomyr, the SMM monitoreda court hearing of a journalist accused of involvement in anti-state activities.

  • Restrictions of the Mission’s access continued in all three disengagement areas.*

Ceasefire violations[1]

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including 34 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 55 explosions). The majority of ceasefire violations, including the majority of explosions, were recorded in south-easterly and south-westerly directions of Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk) and south and south-west of the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS) (15km north of Donetsk).

In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded more ceasefire violations, including, however, fewer explosions (12), compared with the previous reporting period (38 explosions). The majority of ceasefire violations, all shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire (about 1,400), were recorded in areas south-west of Molodizhne (non-government-controlled 63km north-west of Luhansk) and north-west of Kalynove (non-government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk).

Disengagement areas[2]

On the evening and night of 10-11 January, the SMM camera in Zolote (government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk) recorded three projectiles in flight at an assessed range of 2-3km south-east (assessed as inside the disengagement area) and 14 projectiles in flight at an assessed range of 0.5-2km east and east-south-east (assessed as outside the disengagement area). On 11 January, positioned in Zolote-2/Karbonit (government-controlled, 62km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard six undetermined explosions at an assessed range of 3-8km south-east and south (unable to assess whether inside or outside the disengagement area). Positioned on the south-western edge of Zolote-5/Mykhailivka (non-government-controlled, 58km west of Luhansk), the Mission heard two undetermined explosions and 35 shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all at an assessed range of 1-2km north-north-east (all assessed as outside the disengagement area). On the same day, the SMM saw two Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers, one of them visibly armed, inside the disengagement area, walking towards Katerynivka (government-controlled, 64km west of Luhansk).

On 10 January, inside the Zolote disengagement area, an SMM long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted again two anti-aircraft guns (ZU-23, 23mm) mounted on trucks: one 50m north of its southern edge; the second one about 800m west of its eastern edge and about 150m north of its southern edge. Both anti-aircraft guns were assessed as belonging to the armed formations.

In the evening of 10 January, while on the eastern edge of Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk), the Mission heard three undetermined explosions and about 100 shots and bursts of small-arms fire, all at an assessed range of 3-5km west-south-west (all assessed as outside the disengagement area).

Withdrawal of weapons

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 withdrawal lines

Government-controlled areas

11 January

A surface-to-air missile system (9K33 Osa) in the yard of a house assessed as used by military personnel on the northern edge of Klynove (68km north-east of Donetsk) (seen also on 9 January, see SMM Daily Report 10 January 2019) Non-government-controlled areas

10 January

An SMM mini-UAV spotted:

three self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), five tanks (three T-72 and two T-64 with engines removed) and an anti-tank gun (MT-12Rapira, 100mm) in a training area near Sofiivka (formerly Karlo-Marksove, 40km north-east of Donetsk). 11 January

22 multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) near Khrustalnyi (formerly Krasnyi Luch, 56km south-west of Luhansk) Weapons storage sites:

A heavy weapons permanent storage site in a non-government-controlled area of Luhansk region

11 January

17 self-propelled howitzers (2S1), ten towed howitzers (nine D-30 Lyagushka, 122mmand one 2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) and five MLRS (BM-21) were again missing

Indications of military and military-type presence in the security zone[3]

Government-controlled areas

10 January

An SMM long-range UAV spotted:

two armoured reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM-2) south-west of Katerynivka; three infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) (one BMP-1 and two BMP variants), two armoured reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM-2), an armoured combat vehicle (ACV) and an armoured personnel carrier (APC) (MT-LB) near Krymske (42km north-west of Luhansk); two IFVs (one BMP-2 and one BMP variant), an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (BRM-1K) and an ACVnear Novotoshkivske (53km west of Luhansk); two IFVs (BMP-1) near Prychepylivka (50km north-west of Luhansk); and four ACVs near Orikhove (57km north-west of Luhansk). 11 January

two IFVs (one BMP-1, one undetermined variant) near Zolote-2/Karbonit two IFVs (BMP-2) near Netailove (22km north-west of Donetsk) four APCs (two BTR-70 and two BTR-80) near Volnovakha (53kmsouth of Donetsk) Non-government-controlled areas

10 January

An SMM mini-UAV spotted:

six IFVs (BMP-1), an APC (MT-LB) and an armoured recovery vehicle (BTS-4A) near Sofiivka (see above); an ACV near Smile (31km north-west of Luhansk); four ACVs near Sentianivka (formerly Frunze, 44km west of Luhansk); and two ACVs near Kalynove-Borshchuvate (61km west of Luhansk). 11 January

An APC (BMP-1) near Smile

SMM facilitation of repair works to civilian infrastructure

The Mission facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repair works to the water distribution network in Zolote-5/Mykhailivka. It continued to facilitate the operation of the DFS.

Protest at the Kyiv City Palace of Veterans

On 11 January, the SMM saw about 40 people (men, 18-30 years old), half of them standing outside the main entrance to the Kyiv City Palace of Veteransat 11 Bastionna Street and the other half gathered near an auditorium on the third floor, expressing views critical of veterans and of the composition and organization of the Ministry for Veterans Affairs. Most of them werewearingblack and brown clothing with “C14” or “Municipal Varta” patches and the Mission observed that a meeting attended by about 200 people (mostly older men) was taking place in the auditorium and saw about 20 police officers located outside and inside the building. It saw no incidents.

Court hearing of a journalist in Zhytomyr

On 10 January in Zhytomyr, west of Kyiv, the SMM monitored a hearing in the trial of a journalist chargedunder articles 110, 111, 161 and 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Trespass against territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine; High Treason; Violation of citizens' equality based on their race, nationality or religious preferences; Creation of a terrorist group or terrorist organization) (for previous observations, see SMM Daily Report 2 October 2018). The court ruled to extend the journalist’s house arrest until 10 March 2019. In a corridor of the court building the Mission saw six C14 members (men, 15-24 years old) verbally insult the journalist. There it also saw seven police officers present.

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

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 theJoint 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, see SMM Daily Report 9 January 2019). 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.

Regular restrictions related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:

The sides continued to deny the SMM full access to the three disengagement areas, as well as the ability to travel certain roads previously identified as important for effective monitoring by the Mission and for civilians’ movement, through failure to conduct comprehensive clearance of mines and UXO.
About 1km north of the bridge in Shchastia (government-controlled, 20km north of Luhansk), a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM that no demining activities had taken place in the past 24 hours and that the road south of the bridge was still mined. Conditional access:

The SMM was allowed to pass through a checkpoint in Staromykhailivka (non-government-controlled, 15km west of Donetsk) only upon the escort of a car of the armed formations during the SMM’s patrol in the settlement. A member of the armed formations at the checkpoint cited “unsafe situation” in the area as the reason.

[1]For a complete breakdown of ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table. During the reporting period, the SMM camera at the entry-exit checkpoint near Pyshchevyk was not operational and winter weather conditions limited the observation capabilities of some of the SMM cameras.

[2]Disengagement is foreseen in the Framework Decision of the Trilateral Contact Group relating to disengagement of forces and hardware of 21 September 2016.

[3]The hardware mentioned in this section is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.