Spot Report by the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine: Armed men open fire close to SMM in Yasynuvata and Pikuzy

This report is for the media and general public

At 13:27 on 24 February 2017, the SMM heard a burst of small-arms fire (three to five shots) at close range while preparing to launch a mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from the north-western edge of non-government-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), about 130m south-east of the M-04 highway. (The SMM patrol was attempting to launch the UAV to monitor the reported shelling of the Donetsk water filtration station.) The SMM patrol members took cover behind one of their vehicles and saw four men in military-style camouflage clothing carrying AK-variant automatic assault rifles about 30m to the south. The men shouted “Stand still!” in Russian[1] and then approached, with two of the men kneeling and aiming their weapons at the SMM while the two others advanced in short movements. One of them seized the mini-UAV from the ground. The SMM members loudly identified themselves as OSCE in Russian and English. The four men withdrew with the mini-UAV. When 15-20m away, one of them fired a burst of small-arms fire (three to five shots) that impacted on the snow about five metres from the SMM vehicle, behind which the patrol was taking cover. The patrol got into their vehicles and left the scene.

Earlier in the day, around 12:15, two men carrying AK-47s and wearing military-style camouflage clothing typical of “DPR” members engaged in conversation with an SMM patrol member in the centre of non-government-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol). One of them, apparently intending to demonstrate that his firearm was functional, pointed the weapon into the air and fired a round. The SMM left the area.

No SMM members were hurt or vehicles damaged. The SMM informed the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination about both incidents and asked it to assist in recovery of the UAV.

[1] «Стой!»

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Alexandra Taylor 26 Turhenievska Street 01054 Kyiv Ukraine mobile: +380 67 650 31 57

Mariia Aleksevych 26 Turhenievska Street 01054 Kyiv Ukraine office: +380 44 392 0832 mobile: +380 50 381 5192 mobile: +380 93 691 6790