This report is for the media and the general public.
The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region on 1 August compared to both 30 and 31 July, particularly with regard to explosions. In Luhansk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations than on 30 and 31 July combined. The SMM followed up on reports of casualties and analysed craters on both sides of the contact line. The Mission noted mines and mine hazard signs. The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles in the security zone. The SMM facilitated repairs to essential infrastructure on both sides of the contact line in Shchastia, Krasnyi Lyman and Zolote. The SMM monitored two border areas not controlled by the Government and its access was restricted at one*.
The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region compared to both 30 and 31 July with no violations recorded during the night by the SMM forward patrol base in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) and “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk).
While in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city, in the night hours of 31 July, the SMM heard 79 undetermined explosions, at a range of 3 to 15km north and north-west of its location.
In the area of “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north of Donetsk), in the evening hours of 31 July the SMM recorded 24 undetermined explosions, at a range of 2 to 7km north-north west of its location within a 70 minute period. Earlier in the evening, positioned 7km north of Horlivka, the SMM heard four explosions assessed as impacts of automatic-grenade-launcher rounds 0.5-0.8km north of its position.
In the evening hours of 31 July, the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions north-east of its location in Mariupol city (government-controlled, 102km south of Donetsk). On the same night the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) between 20:36 and 22:59, facing north-east and north, recorded 21 undetermined explosions, seven rocket-assisted projectiles, and 21 bursts of direct heavy-machine gun tracer fire all from west to east. Later, the camera recorded one burst of direct tracer fire from east to west as well as one unidentified indirect ballistic projectile fired from east to north-west, and two impacts of an unknown projectile at an undetermined distance.
Positioned in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) during the entire day on 1 August, the SMM heard ten undetermined explosions at an unknown distance south-south-east of its position.
In Luhansk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations on 1 August compared to 30 and 31 July combined.
Whilst in government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) on the night of 31 July, in an hour around midnight, the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions as well as small-arms and machine-gun fire 3-5km south-south-west of its location. In the same time period, the SMM also heard three explosions assessed as outgoing, one of which it assessed as a cannon round (23mm or 30mm), as well as machine-gun bursts and small-arms shots 3.5km south-west of its location. Additionally, the SMM heard 32 undetermined explosions and machine-gun bursts 10 – 14km south-east of its location.
Within 10 minutes in the morning, while positioned at the northern outskirts of government-controlled Troitske (69km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard three explosions assessed as impacts of an unknown projectile 10-15km north-west of its position.
The SMM followed-up on reports of casualties and conducted crater analysis on both sides of the contact line. In government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) the SMM spoke to a doctor on duty at the hospital who said that one Ukrainian Armed Forces soldier had received minor injuries caused by an explosive device and had been brought to the clinic on the night of 31 July. The physician added that he had not been seriously injured and had already been transferred to another hospital. In government-controlled Lopaskyne (24km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM talked to a man (50 years old) who had been injured in the village as a result of a booby-trap explosion. According to him, he and another man who had also been injured were planning to transport some watermelons to their relatives on the other side of the Siverskyi Donets river and accidentally moved a boat on the river bank, which turned out to be booby-trapped. The SMM saw the man had injuries to his head, torso and legs.
The SMM observed the aftermath of shelling in a residential area, a 250m-by-250m block at the northern outskirts of “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), accompanied by a Russian Federation Armed Forces officer at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) and armed “DPR” members. According to residents, the shelling occurred around 22:00 on 31 July. The SMM saw a large volume of blood at a second-floor apartment, which was destroyed by an impact and a man had reportedly been killed. In the same area, the SMM analysed two fresh craters 50m-apart it assessed as caused by 122mm artillery rounds fired from a west-north-westerly direction. The SMM saw shrapnel damage to surrounding buildings, cars and trees at a 50m radius and a first floor apartment in the same building destroyed, the roof had been penetrated and a balcony had been destroyed. The SMM also saw overhead cables had been damaged, while gas pipes were being repaired by local services. At the Yasynuvata central hospital, the SMM confirmed the death of a man (51 years old) from the second-floor apartment on the night of 31 July and saw that he had received multiple penetrating injuries to his head, chest and stomach. The SMM did not observe armed presence in the area.
The SMM, accompanied by a Russian Federation Armed Forces officer at the JCCC and armed “DPR” members, observed three impact sites in close proximity (100m-by-100m area) in Kuibyshevskyi district of Donetsk city. No casualties were reported. According to residents, shelling had started about 22:00 on 31 July and continued through the night of 1 August. The SMM analysed one fresh crater, which it assessed as caused by a 122mm or larger calibre artillery round fired from a west-north-westerly direction. Shrapnel had lacerated and penetrated a metal fence and residential building walls in the vicinity. The SMM also observed damage assessed as resulting from a 122mm artillery round striking the roof of a detached house and exploding. The roof had partially collapsed and surrounding walls and foliage were shrapnel lacerated. Finally, the SMM observed the completely destroyed and still burning wing of a residential building which it assessed as having been struck by a 152mm artillery round (direction of fire could not be determined). One of the owners of the house claimed that, as a result of the blast wave, he had become partially deaf in his left ear. The SMM did not observe armed presence in the area.
Near a Ukrainian Armed Forces position south-east of government-controlled Orikhove (56km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM followed up on reports of shelling in the area during the previous night. The SMM analysed two fresh craters 200-300m from the position and assessed them as caused by 82mm mortar rounds, fired from an easterly direction. No casualties or material damage were reported. At the northern bank of the Siverskyi Donets river, in the area of the “LPR” forward position, some 10-20 meters away from the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, the SMM saw four fresh craters 20-30 centimetres in diameter on the side of the road. An armed “LPR” member present said that the shelling had occurred in the night hours of 31 July and nobody had been injured.
The SMM observed the presence of armoured combat vehicles in the security zone. The SMM saw in government-controlled areas: two infantry fighting vehicles (one BMP-2, one BMP-1-Ksh) in Nyzhnie (56km north-west of Luhansk); an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (ARV; BRDM-2) in Novozvanivka (70km west of Luhansk); one stationary ARV (BRDM-2) near Komyshuvakha (68km west of Luhansk); three stationary armoured personnel carriers (BTR) near Popasna (69km west of Luhansk).
The SMM observed the presence of mines. In areas controlled by the “DPR” the SMM saw, 2km south of “DPR”-controlled Styla (34km south of Donetsk), one mine attached to a tree, approximately 2-2.5m above the ground. Previously, the SMM had observed three mines in the same area (see SMM Daily Report 16 March 2016). In government-controlled areas, at the western outskirts of Pavlopil (26km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM saw a Ukrainian State Emergency Services team visually inspecting for mines an area on the side of the road.
The SMM observed new mine hazard signs. In government-controlled Lopaskyne (24km north-west of Luhansk), in the area of the local cemetery the SMM saw a new improvised mine hazard sign (a white plastic board reading “Welcome on” in English and underneath it “Mines” in Russian and a white plastic board with red letters reading “Mines” in Russian). The SMM spoke to two different groups of residents (men and women, about 60 years old) who said that there had been a fire in the cemetery, which they had extinguished, but were afterward warned for the first time by Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel not to enter the cemetery because the area was mined. The SMM also observed a new mine hazard sign (red metal board reading “Mines” in red Cyrillic letters) on the northern side of the road approximately 1km east of “LPR”-controlled Raivka (16km north-west of Luhansk).
The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to essential infrastructure on both sides of the contact line. The SMM monitored the cleaning of a water pump zone at the Shchastia power plant; repairs to the water pipes in “LPR”-controlled Krasnyi Lyman (30km north-west of Luhansk) as well as repair works on electrical power lines in Zolote (60km north-west of Luhansk).
The SMM monitored two border areas not controlled by the Government, and was restricted in its freedom of movement at one of them.* At the “LPR”-controlled Novoborovytsi pedestrian border crossing point (79km south of Luhansk), the SMM, within 30 minutes, saw no people crossing the border in either direction and again observed no armed “LPR”-members present (see SMM Daily Report 24 July 2016). At the “LPR”-controlled Dovzhanskyi border crossing point, the SMM noted a significant increase in traffic flow. The SMM saw two parked covered cargo trucks, both with Ukrainian plates. The SMM also observed six full passenger buses, all with Ukrainian plates (bearing signs reading: ‘Luhansk – Moscow’, ‘Moscow – Horlivka’, ‘Alchevsk – Yalta’, ‘Luhansk – Krasnodar’ and ‘Luhansk – Rostov’) queuing to enter the Russian Federation. The SMM saw 37 civilian cars (26 with Ukrainian licence plates and 11 with Russian Federation plates). Ten cars with Ukrainian plates were parked by the side of the road. Within 40 minutes the SMM saw five cars cross into the Russian Federation, but no buses or trucks. An armed “LPR” member then told the SMM to leave.*
*Restrictions to SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to the fulfilment of its mandate
The SMM’s monitoring is restrained by security hazards and threats, including risks posed by mines and unexploded ordnance, and by restrictions of its freedom of movement and other impediments – which vary from day to day. The SMM’s mandate provides for safe and secure access throughout Ukraine. All signatories of the Package of Measures have agreed on the need for this safe and secure access, that restriction of the SMM’s freedom of movement constitutes a violation, and on the need for rapid response to these violations.
Denial of access:
- An armed man at the “LPR”-controlled Dovzhanskyi border crossing point (85km south-east of Luhansk) asked the SMM to show its patrol plan. The SMM did not comply and the armed man told it to leave the area. The SMM informed the JCCC.