Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 6 February 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 and Luhansk regions.
  • The Mission followed up on reports of a van hit by small-arms fire in Chermalyk.
  • The SMM observed weapons in violation of the withdrawal lines in non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • It facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable possible demining activities in Luhansk region and repair works to essential civilian infrastructure in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • The SMM monitored a public gathering in Kyiv related to funding for housing for internally displaced persons.
  • The Mission followed up on reports of an attack against a civil activist in Kropyvnytskyi, Kirovohrad region.
  • Restrictions of the SMM’s access continued in all three disengagement areas as well as near Zaichenko, Yasynuvata and Verkhnoshyrokivske.*

Ceasefire violations

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including about 85 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 200 explosions). The majority of ceasefire violations were recorded in areas south-east of Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk), south of the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS) (15km north of Donetsk) and south-east of Chermalyk (government-controlled, 31km north-east of Mariupol).

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including about 40 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 120 explosions). The majority of ceasefire violations were recorded in areas south-east of Popasna (government-controlled, 69km west of Luhansk).

Follow-up on reports of a van hit by small-arms fire in Chermalyk

The SMM followed up on reports that a van of a funeral company had been hit by small-arms fire in Chermalyk on 2 February. On 4 February, at the yard of the funeral company in Zoria (government-controlled, 22km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM saw a green van with a fresh hole in the outer lower right corner of the right-hand front door and a corresponding burn mark on the inner door frame, as well as another fresh hole below the roof line on the right-hand side and a corresponding hole in the front left-hand side door. The SMM assessed the damage as caused by bullets (7.62mm in calibre). On the same day, a woman (in her sixties) in Chermalyk told the SMM that she was at the cemetery with a representative of the funeral company and three cemetery workers on 2 February and that she had been trying to enter the van when she had heard the sound of bullets hitting it around 12:30 (see SMM Daily Report 4 February 2019).

Disengagement areas

On 5 February, an SMM mini-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) again spotted 18 anti-tank mines (TM-62) laid out in four rows across the road between Bohdanivka (government-controlled, 41km south-west of Donetsk) and Viktorivka (non-government-controlled, 42km south-west of Donetsk), near the disengagement area near Petrivske (non-government-controlled, 41km south of Donetsk).

During the day on 6 February, positioned near the Petrivske disengagement area and inside the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Donetsk) and near Zolote (government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk), the SMM observed calm situations.

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:

Non-government-controlled areas

5 February

An SMM long-range UAV spotted:

  • 14 self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), three towed howitzers (D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm) and six anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) in a training area near Buhaivka (37km south-west of Luhansk) and
  • a surface-to-air missile system (9K33 Osa) close to a house near Kalynivka (55km north-east of Donetsk).

An SMM mini-UAV spotted:

  • a probable mortar (2B11 Sani, 120mm) near residential houses on the western outskirts of Zhovte (17km north-west of Luhansk).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside of designated storage sites:

Non-government-controlled areas

5 February

An SMM long-range UAV spotted:

  • 11 tanks (T-72) in a training area near Shymshynivka (27km south-west of Luhansk);
  • 17 tanks (T-64), nine towed mortars (PM-38, 120mm) and seven surface-to-air missile systems (9K35 Strela-10) in a training area near Buhaivka (see above);
  • 21 tanks (11 T-64 and ten T-72), eight self-propelled howitzers (2S1), six anti-tank guns (MT-12), nine towed mortars (2B11) and eight surface-to-air missile systems (9K35) in a training area near Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk);
  • 11 tanks (ten T-72 and a T-64) in a training area near Kruhlyk (31km south-west of Luhansk); and
  • 12 towed howitzers (ten 2A65 Msta-B, 152mm and two 2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm) near Khrustalnyi (54km south-west of Luhansk).

Government-controlled areas

6 February

The SMM saw:

  • nine self-propelled howitzers (2S7 Pion 203mm) on low-bed trailers and a probable self-propelled howitzer (2S5 Giatsint-S, 152mm) on a truck near Pokrovsk (formerly Krasnoarmiisk, 55km north-west of Donetsk).

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

Government-controlled areas

5 February

An SMM mini-UAV spotted:

  • an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMD-2) near Lobacheve (17km north-west of Luhansk).

6 February

The SMM saw:

  • two IFVs (BMP-1) near Orikhove-Donetske (44km north-west of Luhansk);
  • two IFVs (BMP-2) near Zhelanne Druhe (29km north-west of Donetsk); and
  • three IFVs (BMP-2) in Krasnohorivka (21km west of Donetsk).

An SMM mini-UAV spotted:

  • reinforced positions and fresh signs of digging (not visible in imagery from 27 October 2018), assessed as belonging to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, east of Lebedynske (16km north-east of Mariupol) for the first time.

Non-government-controlled areas

5 February

An SMM long-range UAV spotted:

  • three IFVs (BMP-1) close to destroyed homes near Novohryhorivka (61km north-east of Donetsk).

An SMM mini-UAV spotted:

  • three IFVs (BMP-1) near Zhovte.

SMM facilitation of repair works to civilian infrastructure and of possible demining activities

The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repair works to a water conduit near Novotoshkivske (government-controlled, 53km west of Luhansk) and snow removal near the bridge in Shchastia (government-controlled, 20km north of Luhansk). The SMM also facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable an assessment of the situation for possible demining activities at a school in Zolote-4/Rodina (government-controlled, 59km west of Luhansk) and near a kindergarten in Stanytsia Luhanska. At both locations, a representative of the State Emergency Service told the SMM that no explosive devices had been found. The Mission continued to facilitate the operation of the DFS and to monitor the overall security situation in the area of the pumping station in Vasylivka (non-government-controlled, 24km north-east of Donetsk).

Demining activities

In Hranitne (government-controlled 60km south of Donetsk), the SMM saw four members of the State Emergency Service carrying mine detectors and wearing personal protective equipment, accompanied by a Ukrainian Armed Forces representative of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), conducting demining activities inside a fenced-off area around a functioning kindergarten. Representatives of the State Emergency Service later on told the SMM that they had found and cleared two exploded shells outside the fenced-off area about 100m north of the kindergarten: one from an IFV (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) and another from an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm).

Border areas not under government control

While at a border crossing point near Ulianivske (61km south-east of Donetsk) for about 20 minutes, the SMM saw no traffic crossing the border in either direction.

While at a border crossing point near Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk) for about one hour, the SMM saw 21 cars (four with Ukrainian and 12 with Russian Federation licence plates, and five with “DPR” plates), a bus (with Russian Federation licence plates), 63 trucks (53 covered cargo trucks, six tank trucks and four with “toxic” and “flammable” markings – of which 23 with Ukrainian, 11 with Russian Federation, one with Georgian and six with Belarusian licence plates, and 21 with “DPR” and one with “LPR” plates) queuing to exit Ukraine.

Public gathering in Kyiv related to funding for housing for internally displaced persons

The SMM observed a gathering organized by a non-governmental organization advocating for the rights of internally displaced persons (IDP) who have participated in the ATO. At the corner of Instytutska and Bankova Streets, the SMM saw about 100 people (90 per cent men, ten per cent women), some carrying banners indicating they were from Lviv and Kyiv regions and others with flags of, amongst others, Svoboda, Sokil and Aidar. Speakers addressed the participants with messages criticizing what they said was a lack of sufficient funding allocated in the 2019 budget to enforce a provision supplying adequate housing to IDP ATO veterans. The SMM saw about 35 police officers present.

Follow up on attack against a civil activist in Kropyvnytskyi, Kirovohrad region

On 4 February, the SMM met with a civil activist in Kropyvnytskyi (formerly Kirovohrad, 206km west of Dnipro), to follow up on media reports of an attack against him on 26 January. The SMM saw that his right eye was blood-shot and that there was a cut just below it. He told the Mission that he had incurred the injuries after he had been attacked outside his home by two men on the evening of 26 January. On 5 February, in Kropyvnytskyi, a representative of Kirovohrad Regional National Police told the SMM that the attack on the civil activist had likely occurred as a result of his work and added that the investigation continued under Article 296 (hooliganism) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

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