Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 9 April 2019

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Summary

Compared with the previous reporting period, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and more in Luhansk region. Two members of the State Emergency Services of Ukraine injured and one reportedly dead after the detonation of an explosive device near Maiorsk. The SMM observed damage from mortar rounds to residential houses in Trokhizbenka and damage from gunfire to residential houses in Pikuzy. It recorded ceasefire violations and military presence inside the Petrivske and Zolote disengagement areas, as well as mines seen for the first time in the Petrivske disengagement area. The SMM observed long queues of civilians at a checkpoint near Olenivka and saw that the entry-exit checkpoint in Hnutove had re-opened. The Mission observed weapons in violation of the withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line. The SMM observed, for the first time, mines and unexploded ordnance near Krasnohorivka and Debaltseve. The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to essential civilian infrastructure and demining activities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Restrictions of the SMM’s access continued in all three disengagement areas and elsewhere. In addition, the Mission was denied access near non-government-controlled Shevchenko, Hryhorivka and Novoazovsk.

Ceasefire violations[1]

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including about 310 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 460 explosions). The majority of ceasefire violations were recorded at south-easterly directions of Chermalyk (government-controlled, 31km north-east of Mariupol), north-east of Pyshchevyk (government-controlled, 25km north-east of Mariupol) and at southerly and easterly directions of Novoluhanske (government-controlled, 53km north-east of Donetsk).

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 200 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 150 explosions). More than half of the ceasefire violations were recorded at south-easterly directions of Popasna (government-controlled, 69km west of Luhansk) and in areas close to the disengagement area near Zolote (government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk) (see below).

Two members of the State Emergency Services of Ukraine injured and one reportedly dead after the detonation of an explosive device near Maiorsk

At the entry-exit checkpoint near Maiorsk (government-controlled, 45km north-east of Donetsk) on road T-0513, the SMM saw two ambulances, two men (aged 20-30) in State Emergency Services of Ukraine uniforms lying on stretchers and with injuries to their faces and upper limbs. The SMM also saw six Ukrainian Armed Forces members (four men and two women), including three with Red Cross insignia, standing next to the injured men. The SMM saw the soldiers provide first aid to both injured men prior to putting them in the ambulances. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) told the SMM that a third deminer had died after the detonation of an explosive device during demining activities that all three were conducting between Maiorsk and Shumy (government-controlled, 41km north of Donetsk). At the hospital in Bakhmut (formerly Artemivsk, government-controlled, 67km north of Donetsk), medical staff told the SMM that two men (aged 20-30) had been admitted with injuries caused by an explosion and that one of them had lost both eyes and needed a surgery on his right arm.

Fresh damage from mortar rounds to residential houses in Trokhizbenka

On 8 April, on the western edge of Trokhizbenka (government-controlled, 32km north-west of Luhansk), at 152 Donetska Street, the SMM saw four shattered windows and fresh scratches in their wooden frames, as well as fresh marks assessed as shrapnel damage in the south-facing wall of a barn located about 33m north of a single-storey house and about 600m from a checkpoint of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. About 1m further north, the SMM saw a hole in the roof of a second barn. At 154 Donetska Street, about 55m north-east of another single-storey house, the SMM saw a fresh crater and scorch marks within a 15m radius of the crater, as well as scorched tree branches on the nearby ground. About 32m north of the same house, the SMM saw a hole (assessed as fresh damage) in the west side of the roof of a barn. At 156 Donetska Street, the SMM saw 10-15 holes in the east- and north-facing walls of a single-storey house (all assessed as fresh shrapnel damage).

At 166 Donetska Street (about 100m west of the previous house), in a field about 40m north of an abandoned single-storey house, the SMM saw a fresh crater with scorch marks around it. At 168 Donetska Street, the SMM saw five freshly shattered windows in the west-, north- and south-facing walls) of a single-storey house as well as a fresh crater about 5m west of the same house. At 237 Donetska Street (about 5m north of the previous house), the SMM saw a hole in the west-facing side of the roof of a single-storey house, assessed as fresh shrapnel damage, as well as a fresh crater about 75m west-south-west of the same house (and 12m south of a local road).

The SMM assessed all the craters and damage to residential houses as caused by mortar rounds fired from a south-south-easterly direction. Four residents of the above-mentioned street (three women and a man, aged 50-60) separately told the SMM that they had been in their houses with their families when shelling had occurred in the evening of 6 April.

Fresh damage from gunfire to residential houses in Pikuzy

On the north-western edge of Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, non-government-controlled, 92km south of Donetsk), at 26 Akhmatovoi Street, the SMM saw the freshly burned interiors of a summer house, a freshly burned and shattered north-facing window (with glass shards on the ground) and a burned and collapsed roof connecting the summer house to a main single-storey house. The SMM could not assess the cause of the damage. In the centre of Pikuzy, at 7 Peremohy Street, the SMM saw a hole in the tin roof of a barn located about 5m south-east of a house as well as scattered tin plates on the same roof. The SMM assessed the damage as caused by heavy-machine-gun fire from a north-westerly direction. At both locations, the owners of the houses (men, aged 60-70) said that shelling had occurred in the late morning hours of 5 April.

Disengagement areas[2]

On 8 April, inside the disengagement area near Zolote, an SMM mini-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) again spotted three infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) (BMP-1), one north of the railway tracks and west of road T-316, with four people wearing camouflaged clothing assessed as Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel in the vicinity, and the other two 550m and 750m north-east, respectively, of the abovementioned IFV and south of the railways tracks. The same UAV again spotted at least 12 anti-tank mines (probable TM-62) laid out in two rows across road T-1316, about 200m south of the railway tracks. All IFVs and mines were assessed as belonging to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

In the early morning of 9 April, the SMM camera in Zolote recorded 14 projectiles in flight at an assessed range of 1-3km east, assessed as outside the disengagement area. The same day, positioned in five locations near the Zolote disengagement area, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions at an assessed range of 2-3km south-east (assessed as inside the disengagement area) as well as 39 undetermined explosions and 69 bursts and shots of small-arms fire, all assessed as outside the disengagement area.

On 8 April, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted for the first time about 200 anti-tank mines (TM-62) inside the disengagement area near Petrivske (non-government-controlled, 41km south of Donetsk), laid out in two rows running from north to south for about 300m, about 700m south of the area’s northern edge and about 1km east of its western edge. The UAV also again spotted 11 anti-tank mines (TM-62) laid out in two rows across the road between Bohdanivka (government-controlled, 41km south-west of Donetsk) and Viktorivka (non-government-controlled, 42km south-west of Donetsk), about 170m north of the disengagement area. On the northern side of the road, the UAV spotted 22 anti-tank mines (TM-62) as well as at least 150 anti-tank mines (TM-62) on the south side of the road which run from north to south in one row for about 500m and extend about 300m into the disengagement area. About 150m west of the aforementioned 11 anti-tank mines, the UAV also again spotted about 25 anti-tank mines (TM-62) laid out in four rows across the road. (for previous observations, see SMM Daily Report of 14 March 2018).

The same UAV spotted an IFV (BMP-1) and an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) inside the Petrivske disengagement area, about 1.2km east of its western edge and about 1.2km south of its northern edge, assessed as belonging to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

On 9 April, positioned about 2km north of Petrivske, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion at an assessed range of 4-5km west-south-west, assessed as inside the Petrivske disengagement area. [3]

On 9 April, positioned in 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.

Weapons in violation of withdrawal lines

Government-controlled

9 April

The SMM saw eight towed howitzers (D-20, 152mm) at the railway station in Bakhmut (for previous observations, see SMM Daily Report 9 April 2019).

Non-government-controlled areas

8 April

An SMM long-range UAV spotted:

15 multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) near Khrustalnyi (formerly Krasnyi Luch, 56km south-west of Luhansk); seven MLRS (BM-21) in a training area near Miusynsk (62km south-west of Luhansk); and three self-propelled howitzers (type undetermined) in a training area near Ternove (57km east of Donetsk). An SMM mini-UAV spotted a tank (probable T-64) about 10m from a residential building on the eastern outskirts of Novohryhorivka (61km north-east of Donetsk).

9 April

The SMM saw seven self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika,122mm), seven MLRS (BM-21) and ten towed howitzers (five 2A65 Msta-B, 152mm and five D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm) at the former Luhansk international airport about 10km south of Luhansk city (for previous observations, see SMM Daily Report 9 April 2019).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside of designated storage sites

Non-government-controlled areas

8 April

An SMM long-range UAV spotted:

ten tanks (types undetermined) and three self-propelled howitzers (type undetermined) in a training area near Miusynsk (see above) and four tanks (type undetermined) in a training area near Ternove (see above). 9 April

The SMM saw six surface-to-air missile systems (9K35 Strela-10) and seven tanks (T-72) at the former Luhansk international airport about 10km south of Luhansk city (see above).

Indications of military presence in the security zone[4]

Government-controlled areas

5 April

An SMM mid-range UAV spotted an armoured personnel carrier (APC) (BTR-70) near a residential building on the eastern outskirts of Vodiane (94km south of Donetsk).

8 April

An SMM long-range UAV spotted an APC (Saxon) in Zolote-3/Stakhanovets (61km north-west of Luhansk).

9 April

The SMM saw:

an APC (MT-LB) near Krasnohorivka (24km north of Donetsk); two armoured reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM-2) near Sukha Balka (36km north of Donetsk); an APC (BTR-70) near Raihorodka (34km north-west of Luhansk); and three armoured reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM-2) near Troitske (69km west of Luhansk). On 9 April, the SMM saw a green and yellow helicopter (assessed as a MI-2) flying from west to north at an altitude of 600m about 5km east-north-east of Raihorodka.

Situation of civilians at checkpoints along the contact line

On 9 April, the Mission again observed long queues of cars at a checkpoint near Olenivka (non-government controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk). It saw that the queue of cars waiting to travel to government-controlled areas was about 3km long, and the queue of cars waiting to travel in the opposite direction was about 500m long. On the same day, the SMM saw that the entry-exit checkpoint in Hnutove (government-controlled, 20km north-east of Mariupol) had been re-opened for civilian traffic. (For previous observations, see SMM Daily Report 8 April 2019).

Unexploded ordnance seen for the first time near Debaltseve and Verkhnoshyrokivske

On 8 April, the SMM saw for the first time seven pieces of unexploded ordnance (UXO) assessed as MLRS rockets (six as Grad and one as Uragan, 220mm) protruding from the ground in a field on the eastern side of road M-03, about 3km north-west of Debaltseve (non-government-controlled, 58km north-east of Donetsk).

On 9 April, about 1.2km west of Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, non-government-controlled, 29km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM saw for the first time a piece of UXO on a local road between Verkhnoshyrokivske and Pyshchevyk used by civilians. In a field about 3m south of the road, the SMM also observed for the first time two grenade launcher rounds (PG-7L): one lying on the ground and the tailfin of the second embedded in the ground.

Presence of mines

On 4 April, about 1km south-east of Krasnohorivka, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted for the first time eight anti-tank mines (TM-62) laid out in two rows across a road between Krasnohorivka and Donetsk city’s Petrovskyi district.

On the same day, an SMM mid-range UAV again spotted about 300 anti-tank mines laid out in two rows about 4km west of Lebedynske (government-controlled, 16km east of Mariupol). About 1.5km north-east of Vodiane, the same UAV again spotted nine anti-tank mines laid across a road and again about 50 anti-tank mines laid out in four rows in the fields north and south of the road, as well as again about 90 anti-tank mines laid out in four rows north and south of a dirt track about 200m east of Vodiane.

On 8 April, near Vesela Hora (non-government-controlled, 16km north of Luhansk), about 2.5km south-east of the bridge in Shchastia (government-controlled, 20km north of Luhansk), an SMM mini-UAV again spotted four anti-tank mines laid out across the western lane of road H-21 as well as 42 anti-tank mines in a field south of the same road adjacent to the above-mentioned four mines. The same UAV again spotted at least eight anti-tank mines laid out across the same road about 550m north-west of the four mines.

SMM facilitation of repairs to civilian infrastructure

The Mission facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to the Petrivske pumping station near Artema (government-controlled, 26km north of Luhansk); to water pipelines near Maiorsk and Travneve (government-controlled, 51km north-east of Donetsk); to power transmission lines near Holubivka (formerly Kirovsk, non-government-controlled, 51km west of Luhansk), Spartak (non-government-controlled, 9km north of Donetsk) and Staromykhailivka (non-government controlled, 15km west of Donetsk); and to power lines near Holubivka and between Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, non-government-controlled, 50km west of Luhansk) and Zolote-5/Mykhailivka (non-government-controlled, 58km north-west of Luhansk), as well as to enable demining activities near the entry-exit checkpoint near Marinka (government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk).

The Mission continued to facilitate and monitor adherence to the ceasefire to facilitate the operation of the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS) and monitor the security situation around the pumping station near Vasylivka (non-government-controlled, 20km north of Donetsk).

Border areas outside government control

On 9 April, while at a border crossing point near Marynivka (78km east of Donetsk) for about an hour, the SMM saw nine cars (eight with Ukrainian and one with Polish licence plates) and two pedestrians entering Ukraine, as well as 12 cars (four with Ukrainian, five with Russian Federation licence plates and three with “DPR” plates), four covered cargo trucks (three with Ukrainian licence plates and one with “DPR” plates) and two buses with “DPR” plates exiting Ukraine.

While at a border crossing point near Novoazovsk (40km east of Mariupol) for about 40 minutes, the Mission saw four cars (one with Ukrainian, two with Russian Federation licence plates and one with “DPR” plates) and a covered cargo truck with Ukrainian licence plates entering Ukraine, as well as two cars with “DPR” plates and two covered cargo trucks with Ukrainian licence plates exiting Ukraine.

The SMM observed a calm situation in areas south-east of Kherson

On 7 April, the SMM observed a calm situation at the crossing point between Chonhar (163km south-east of Kherson) and Crimea.

Gathering in Kyiv

In Kyiv on 9 April, the SMM monitored a pre-announced public gathering by National Corps and Natsionalni Druzhyny (see SMM Daily Report 25 March 2019). The Mission saw about 800 people (mostly young men, aged 18-30), some of them wearing insignia of the above-mentioned groups and carrying banners critical of government officials, gathered at 1 Mykhaila Hrushevskoho Street. The SMM saw about half of the group start to march towards the headquarters of the State Security Service of Ukraine at 33 Volodymyrska Street while the other half marched towards the Office of the Prosecutor General at 13/15 Riznytska Street, the Ministry of Interior Affairs at 10 Akademika Bohomoltsa Street and the building of the Presidential administration at 11 Bankova Street. At these last three locations, the SMM heard participants expressing views criticial of the government. It observed an overall calm situation.

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