This report is for the media and the general public.
The SMM monitored the implementation of the “Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements”. Its monitoring was restricted by third parties and security considerations*. The SMM continued to observe ceasefire violations at and around the Donetsk airport. The SMM was caught in a fire exchange in Shyrokyne.
The situation at and around Donetsk airport was tense. Between 08:00 and 14:00hrs, at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation point at Donetsk central railway station (“Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled, 8km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard 34 explosions, consistent with incoming and outgoing mortar fire, as well as bursts of small-arms, automatic grenade launcher, heavy machine-gun (HMG) and anti-aircraft gun fire. The SMM assessed that the explosions occurred at locations to the north, north-east, south, west and north-west at distances between 4 and 8km from its position.
While in Shyrokyne (100km south of Donetsk, 20km east of Mariupol), a fire exchange erupted in the SMM’s vicinity and resulted in one SMM staff member being injured by debris (see SMM Spot Report 27 July 2015).
At the JCCC headquarters in Soledar (government-controlled, 75km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM was presented with two logbooks, compiled independently by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Russian Federation Armed Forces representatives to the JCCC. The Ukrainian Armed Forces logbook recorded 107 ceasefire violations; 22 attributed to the Ukrainian Armed Forces and 85 to “DPR” and “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”). The Russian Federation Armed Forces’ logbook contained 34 ceasefire violations; 20 attributed to the Ukrainian Armed Forces and 14 to “DPR” and “LPR”. The Ukrainian Armed Forces Major-General, head of the Ukrainian side to the JCCC said that the security situation had significantly deteriorated in the past 24 hours and Avdiivka (government-controlled, 13km north-west of Donetsk) in particular had experienced heavy shelling. The Lieutenant-General, representative of the Russian Federation Armed Forces to the JCCC, said that the situation had not changed over the past 24 hours and both sides continued to use heavy weapons.
The SMM met the deputy manager and other personnel of the Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 56km north-east of Donetsk) power plant who said that the plant had been shelled at around 00:57hrs on 27 July and as a result it had stopped working at full capacity. The deputy manager estimated that damages from shrapnel would take three days to repair. In the meanwhile, he added, the plant could not fully supply electricity to parts of Horlivka (“DPR”-controlled, 33km north-east of Donetsk) and Artemivsk (government-controlled, 67km north-east of Donetsk). The SMM analysed six of the ten impacts it observed and assessed the direction of firing to be south-south-west.
The SMM followed up media reports that on 25 July a military truck carrying munitions had been seized and its driver and passenger arrested by the Ukrainian Armed Forces near Berezove (government-controlled, 36km south-west of Donetsk). Based on information received from Ukrainian customs officials, the SMM visited a Ukrainian Armed Forces military base inVolnovakha (government-controlled, 53km south-west of Donetsk) where it saw a truck briefly from the outside; a green Kamaz military-type truck with a license plate painted black with a white text on it and another license plate underneath. The SMM was not allowed to see inside and was told by the personnel manning the base to leave.
Following up on information received from the JCCC, the SMM visited Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk) and observed ten civilian houses heavily damaged by recent shelling of different calibre. From the analysis of four fresh craters, the SMM assessed that a large number of weapons had been used, including small arms, semi-automatic grenade launchers, 72mm grenade launchers, 82mm mortar and artillery of 122mm. The SMM estimated that the firing originated from the south. Ukrainian Armed Forces representatives of the JCCC told the SMM that on 27 July, between 01:00 and 03:00hrs, heavy shelling of two areas of Stanytsia Luhanska had occurred, forcing residents to underground shelters. No casualties were reported to or observed by the SMM.
The SMM revisited two “DPR” and one Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas, the locations of which complied with the respective withdrawal lines, and found all previously recorded weapons in situ. The SMM was denied access by “DPR” members to another “DPR” holding area.*
On 25 July, the SMM monitored the weekly gathering at Odessa’s Kulikove Pole, where it observed approximately 80 anti-Maidan activists, mostly women above 45 years old, holding photos of those who died on 2 May 2014 while commemorative speeches were delivered. The SMM also observed a group of 15 pro-Maidan activists, mostly men aged 30-50, who held two Ukrainian flags and were led in prayer by a priest. Approximately 25 unarmed police officers were present at the scene forming a line between the two groups and two buses of anti-riot police were parked nearby. The pro-Maidan protestors left at 19:05hrs, while the anti-Maidan activists were still on the spot when the SMM departed at 19:10hrs.
A representative of the Zakarpattia regional Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) told the SMM on the phone that joint search operations by the SBU, police and border guard were still on-going. They are aimed at apprehending the Right Sector (Pravyi Sektor) members involved in the shooting incident in Mukacheve (156km south-west of Ivano-Frankivsk) on 11 July (see SMM Spot Report 13 July, 2015), he added. The SBU said there were around ten Right Sector members who remained at large and were believed to be hiding in the nearby forests, and that the search operation area had been geographically expanded. The deputy mayor of Mukacheve told the SMM on the phone that the situation in the city was calm.
In Lviv city, the SMM followed up media and police reports about an explosion, which occurred at 3:00hrs on 27 July at a local office of the Sberbank of Russia. The SMM visited the bank where it observed visible traces of smoke and fire and noticed that one window had been replaced. The bank was open and clients were inside. The police told the SMM that unknown perpetrator(s) had thrown a Molotov cocktail through the window causing a minor fire. The police also said that, at approximately the same time, the windows of two other Sberbank offices in Lviv were broken as a result of bricks thrown at them. The SMM did not observe any damages at these two locations. The police said they had launched investigations on charges of careless destruction of damage of property (Article 196 of the Criminal Code).
The SMM followed the security situation in Chernihiv (140km north-east of Kyiv) where parliamentary by-elections took place on 26 July (see SMM Daily Report 22 July 2015). On 25 July, the SMM saw groups of young men moving around the city and on 26 July a large number of groups of young men gathered around polling stations. The SMM observed that the situation remained generally calm during the Election Day. In the evening, the SMM saw three cars, allegedly carrying supporters of the Poroshenko Bloc candidate, surrounded by supporters of the Ukrop candidate who seemed to believe that the vehicles contained false ballots. Around 65 members of the National Guard and police arrived at the scene while the crowd of approximately 200 people, mostly men of all ages, dispersed peacefully when the trunks of the vehicles were searched and no suspicious items were found. The Chernihiv city police chief told the SMM the main security incidents were related to clashes between supporters of the two main candidates. On 27 July, the atmosphere in the town was calm.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Kherson and Chernivtsi.
* Restrictions on SMM monitoring, access and freedom of movement:
The SMM is restrained in fulfilling its monitoring functions by restrictions imposed by third parties and security considerations, including the presence – and lack of information on the whereabouts – of mines, and damaged infrastructure. The security situation in Donbas is fluid and unpredictable and the ceasefire does not hold everywhere. Self-imposed restrictions on movement into high-risk areas have impinged on SMM patrolling activities, particularly in areas not controlled by the government. Most areas along the Ukraine-Russian Federation international border, particularly those controlled by the “LPR”, have ordinarily been placed off limits to the SMM. The SMM UAVs cannot operate in the Luhansk region as it is beyond their range.
- The SMM was denied access by “DPR” members to a heavy weapons holding area.
- In Pionerske (government-controlled, 13km east of Mariupol) the SMM was stopped at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint for 37 minutes when personnel said they required a password before allowing passage. Only after SMM Security intervened was the SMM able to proceed.
* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions on SMM access and freedom of movement” for further information.
 For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.