Newly installed OSCE SMM camera destroyed by small-arms fire in eastern Ukraine

from Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Published on 10 Aug 2017

KYIV, 10 August 2017 - Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, the Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), condemned the shooting at, and destruction of, a newly-installed SMM thermal camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station near Yasynuvata.

On 19 July, the sides expressed their commitment to create safety zones around the Vasylivka Pumping Station and Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS). The destruction of a camera deployed by the SMM on 7 August in support of the potential DFS safety zone demonstrates contempt for this important humanitarian initiative and for the many people on both sides of the contact line who stand to benefit from its installation.

The determination of the sides to prevent the OSCE SMM from fulfilling its mandate has been abundantly demonstrated throughout the process of installing this camera. Before arriving at the Donetsk Filtration Station, the monitoring equipment was held for several hours at the entry exit checkpoint in Olenivka, and during the installation shots were fired at the contracted workers and the SMM monitors accompanying them.

Following this incident, the SMM invites the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) to put forward a joint proposal on how it can contribute more effectively towards a comprehensive and sustainable cessation of fire, particularly in these proposed safety zones. The SMM expects forces and formations on both sides of the contact line to co-operate with the JCCC to that end. The Mission also expects the sides to identify those responsible for the incident and to ensure appropriate disciplinary measures are implemented.

This camera is one of many remote observation tools deployed by the SMM in eastern Ukraine as part of the enhanced Technical Monitoring Project that the Mission has been rolling out in the current mandate. It improves the Mission’s ability to monitor and to overcome the widespread restrictions and other impediments imposed on the Mission by the sides.

The SMM renews its call for such restrictions to be remedied, and for full and unhindered access throughout Ukraine.