Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 16 January 2019

This report is for the media and the general public.

Summary

  • Compared with the previous reporting period, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • The Mission recorded military presence inside and ceasefire violations near the Zolote disengagement area.
  • The SMM saw weapons in violation of the withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line.
  • The Mission saw long queues of civilians waiting to travel across the contact line.
  • In Odessa, the SMM followed up on reports of a public gathering in front of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation. It saw splashes of red paint on the ground in front of the Consulate.
  • Restrictions of the SMM’s access continued in all three disengagement areas.

Ceasefire violations

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 200 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 25 explosions). The majority of ceasefire violations, including the majority of explosions, were recorded in the Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport area and in areas south-east and south-west of Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk), including about 20 explosions assessed as outgoing mortar rounds.

In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded more ceasefire violations, including more explosions (about 100), compared with the previous reporting period (about 40 explosions). The majority of ceasefire violations, including the majority of explosions, were recorded close to the disengagement area near Zolote (government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk) (see the disengagement area section below).

Disengagement areas

On 16 January, positioned on the south-western edge of Zolote-5/Mykhailivka (non-government-controlled, 58km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard about 50 shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire at an assessed range of 1km north-west. Positioned on the north-western edge of Holubivka (formerly Kirovsk, non-government-controlled, 51km west of Luhansk), the Mission heard 74 undetermined explosions and about 350 shots and bursts, all at an assessed range of 4-7km north-west. Positioned about 1km south of Molodizhne (non-government-controlled, 63km north-west of Luhansk), it heard an undetermined explosion and about 55 shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all at an assessed range of 1-6km north-east and south-south-west. All of the above ceasefire violations were assessed as outside the Zolote disengagement area.

On 15 January, inside the Zolote disengagement area, an SMM mini unmanned aerial vehicle UAV) again spotted an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) west of road T1316 and north of a railway bridge (about 900m south of the disengagement area’s northern edge and about 2km east of its western edge), assessed as belonging to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

During the day on 16 January, positioned inside the disengagement area near Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM observed a calm situation.

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 withdrawal lines

Government-controlled areas

15 January

An SMM mini-UAV spotted:

Non-government-controlled areas

16 January

The SMM saw:

  • a surface-to-air missile system (9K35 Strela____10) in Donetsk city; and
  • a tank (type undetermined) near Sofiivka (formerly Karlo-Marksove, 40km north-east of Donetsk).

An SMM mini-UAV spotted:

  • two self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) and four towed howitzers (D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm) near Bile (22km west of Luhansk).

Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites

Government-controlled areas

16 January

The SMM saw:

  • a tank (T-64) near Zlatousivka (66km south-west of Donetsk); and
  • four tanks (two T-64 and two T-72) near Zachativka (74km south-west of Donetsk).

Non-government-controlled areas

16 January

An SMM mini-UAV spotted:

  • 29 tanks (11 T-72 and 18 T-64) near Bile.

Indications of military and military-type presence in the security zone

Government-controlled areas

16 January

The SMM saw:

  • four IFVs (BMP-1) in Zaitseve (62km north-east of Donetsk).

Non-government-controlled areas

16 January

The SMM saw:

  • three IFVs (BMP variants) near Sofiivka;
  • three armoured personnel carriers (APC) (MT-LB) in Donetsk city; and
  • an APC (BTR-80) and an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) in Luhansk city.

Long queues of civilians at checkpoints along the contact line

At the checkpoint of the armed formations south of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (15km north-east of Luhansk), at 09:50 on 16 January, the SMM saw about 3,000 people queuing to travel towards government-controlled areas through one open booth and about 50 queuing in the opposite direction. The Mission saw about 1,500 people waiting at a nearby bus stop. About two hours later, it saw that the queues of people at the checkpoint in both directions had not changed. At the entry-exit checkpoint north of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, the SMM observed about 300 people queuing to exit government-controlled areas and about 100 people queuing in the opposite direction.

On 15 January, the SMM saw about 500 people in a queue to enter government-controlled areas through the forward-most Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint 3.5km north-east of Berezove (government-controlled, 31km south-west of Donetsk). On 16 January, at the same location, the Mission observed about 200 people.

SMM facilitation of repair works to civilian infrastructure

The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable demining near high voltage power lines near the entry-exit checkpoint in Maiorsk (government-controlled, 45km north-east of Donetsk). The Mission continued to facilitate the operation of the Donetsk Filtration Station.

On 15 January, representatives of the __Voda Donbassa __water company and the State Emergency Services told the Mission that the repair works to a water pipeline near Toretsk (government-controlled, 43km north of Donetsk) and Horlivka (non-government-controlled, 39km north-east of Donetsk) had been completed, and that the water supply to Toretsk had been restored (for previous observations, see SMM Daily Report 30 October 2018).

The SMM follows up on reports of a public gathering in front of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Odessa

On 15 January, in Odessa, the SMM followed up on media reports of a public gathering in front of the building of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation at 14 Haharinske Plateau earlier that day. The Mission saw two red paint splashes: one on the sidewalk in front of the main entrance to the Consulate and a second on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. Two National Guard officers present told the SMM that 15 people had gathered on the morning of 15 January in front of the Consulate to express their support of Ukrainian Navy servicemen detained in the Russian Federation, and splashed red paint near the building. A police representative told the Mission that two persons had been brought in for questioning under article 173 of the Code of Administrative Offences of Ukraine (minor hooliganism).

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