Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 20 January 2019

This report is for the media and the general public.

Summary

  • Compared with the previous reporting period, between the evenings of 18 and 19 January, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and more in Luhansk region.
  • Compared with the previous 24 hours, between the evenings of 19 and 20 January, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and a similar number of ceasefire violations in Luhansk region.
  • The SMM recorded ceasefire violations inside the Zolote disengagement area and near the Stanytsia Luhanska and Petrivske disengagement areas.
  • Adherence to the ceasefire to enable repair works to essential civilian infrastructure in Donetsk region was facilitated and monitored by the SMM.
  • A calm situation was observed by the SMM at the crossing point with Crimea in Chonhar, south-east of Kherson.
  • The SMM followed up on reports of a community changing church affiliation in Shandrovets, Lviv region.
  • Restrictions of the Mission’s access continued in all three disengagement areas. An SMM long-range unmanned aerial vehicle experienced jamming.*

Ceasefire violations

In Donetsk region, between the evenings of 18 and 19 January, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including about 60 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 100 explosions). The majority of ceasefire violations were recorded in areas south and south-west of the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS) (15km north of Donetsk) and south-south-west of Avdiivka (government-controlled, 17km north of Donetsk).

Between the evenings of 19 and 20 January, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including 25 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours. The majority of ceasefire violations were recorded in areas south-east and south of Chermalyk (government-controlled, 31km north-east of Mariupol), north-east of Pyshchevyk (government-controlled, 35km north-east of Mariupol) and east and south-east of Avdiivka.

In Luhansk region, between the evenings of 18 and 19 January, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including, however, fewer explosions (two explosions), compared with the previous reporting period (three explosions). The majority of ceasefire violations were recorded in areas south-east of Zolote (government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk) and west of the disengagement area near Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk).

Between the evenings of 19 and 20 January, the SMM recorded a similar number of ceasefire violations, including one explosion, compared with the previous 24 hours. The majority of ceasefire violations were recorded in areas south-south-west of Berezivske (non-government-controlled, 53km north-west of Luhansk).

SMM mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle spots recent impact craters near Luhanske

On 18 January, an SMM mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted 16 recent impact craters in a field about 5km south-east of Luhanske (government-controlled, 59km north-east of Donetsk), assessed as caused by probable mortar (82mm) rounds. The SMM was unable to determine the direction of fire.

Disengagement areas

On the evening and night of 18-19 January, the SMM camera in Zolote recorded an undetermined explosion at an assessed range of 2-4km east-south-east (unable to determine whether inside or outside the disengagement area) and 46 projectiles in flight, all at an assessed range of 2-5km at directions ranging from east-south-east to south (34 projectiles assessed as inside the disengagement area, 11 projectiles that the SMM was unable to assess and one assessed as outside the disengagement area).

During the day on 19 January, positioned in Zolote-4/Rodina (government-controlled, 59km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard nine shots of small-arms fire at an assessed range of 1-1.5km south-south-west (all assessed as inside the disengagement area).

During the evening of 19 January, the SMM camera in Zolote recorded an illumination flare in vertical flight at an assessed range of 2-3km south-east (assessed as inside the disengagement area).

During the day on 19 January, positioned near the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (15km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM heard an undetermined explosion and about 20 bursts and about 20 shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all at an assessed range of 1-2km west (all assessed as outside the disengagement area).

During the morning on 20 January, while on the eastern edge of Stanytsia Luhanska, the SMM heard two shots of cannon (30mm) fire at an assessed range of 3-5km south-south-east (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

On 19 January, positioned close to the disengagement area near Petrivske (non-government-controlled, 41km south of Donetsk), the SMM observed a calm situation. On 20 January, positioned about 2km south-south-east of Styla (non-government-controlled, 34km south of Donetsk), the SMM heard four undetermined explosions at an assessed range of 3-5km south-south-west (assessed as outside the Petrivske 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 withdrawal lines

Government-controlled areas

19 January

The SMM saw:

  • three anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) being towed by military trucks traveling south-west near Krasne (65km north of Donetsk);
  • 20 self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) at a railway station in Bakhmut (formerly Artemivsk, 67km north of Donetsk);
  • eight self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) about 3km north-west of Berkhivka (73km north of Donetsk) loaded on flat-bed trucks, seven of which were in a field and one which was traveling south-east; and
  • five self-propelled howitzers (2S1) about 3km south of Zaliznianske (79km north of Donetsk) parked in a field west of road M03.

20 January

The SMM saw:

  • a self-propelled howitzer (2S1) being transported south-east on road M03 near Pidhorodne (73km north of Donetsk).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside of designated storage sites:

Government-controlled areas

20 January

The SMM saw:

  • eight tanks (T-64) near Pidhorodne, five loaded on heavy equipment transporters and in movement and three stationary, and
  • two surface-to-air missile systems (9K35 Osa) being transported on road M03 south-east near Pidhorodne.

Weapons that the SMM was unable to verify as withdrawn:

Heavy weapons holding areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines in government-controlled areas of Donetsk region

19 January

The SMM observed that:

  • three mortars (2B11 Sani, 120mm) were present, and
  • 35 self-propelled howitzers (23 2S1 and 12 2S19 Msta-S, 152mm), 18 towed howitzers (D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm), 34 mortars (21 2B11, 12 M-120 _Molot, _120mm and a BM-37, 82mm) and three anti-tank guns (MT-12) remained missing.

Indications of military presence in the security zone

Government-controlled areas

19 January

The SMM saw:

  • an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2D) north-west of Bobrove (56km north-west of Luhansk);
  • an armoured personnel carrier (APC) military ambulance (MT-LB type) in Popasna (69km west of Luhansk);
  • an infantry fighting vehicle (type undetermined) near Trokhizbenka (32km north-west of Luhansk), about 10m south of a house; and
  • two APCs (BTR-3) near Kodema (57km north-east of Donetsk).

20 January

The SMM saw:

  • two IFVs (BMP-2) near the entry-exit checkpoint in Maiorsk (45km north-east of Donetsk), and
  • a freshly dug vehicle revetment, about 10m in diameter in a circular shape, north of the entry-exit checkpoint in Pyshchevyk.

On 20 January, while attempting to conduct a mini-UAV flight near Sofiivka (non-government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk), the UAV experienced loss of signal. While present, the SMM saw a truck with military-type plates and two armed members of the armed formations on board arrive. One of them got out of the truck and told the SMM that if any members of the armed formations saw the SMM UAV flying it would be shot down, based on instructions from his superiors. The SMM then departed the area.

SMM facilitation of repair works to civilian infrastructure

On 20 January, the SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repair works to powerlines near the entry-exit checkpoint in Maiorsk. On 19 and 20 January, the SMM continued to facilitate the operation of the DFS.

Border area outside of Government control

On 20 January, at the pedestrian border crossing point in Novoborovytsi (non-government-controlled, 79km south of Luhansk), the SMM did not observe pedestrians crossing in either direction.

The SMM observed a calm situation at the crossing point in Chonhar

On 17 and 18 January, the SMM observed calm situations at the crossing point with Crimea in Chonhar (163km south-east of Kherson).

The SMM followed up on reports of the community changing church affiliation in Shandrovets, Lviv region

On 18 January, at the Church of St. Michael in Shandrovets (113km south-west of Lviv) the head of the village council (male, 40-45 years old) and five local parishioners (one female and four males, 50-65 years old) said that at a community meeting on 13 January the community had voted to change their affiliation from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU). The UOC priest said that on 16 January he had not given keys to the church and the parish residence to community members (according to the five parishioners, about 200 people, mixed age and gender) who had come to the parish residence and requested them. The head of the village council and five parishioners told the SMM that local residents had then broken the lock on the parish residence and asked the priest to leave, which he did. At the church, the SMM observed about eight police officers and two police cars and that the church was open to the public. A police representative told the SMM that they had maintained a constant presence at the church since the incident on 16 January.

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