Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 1 February 2016

The SMM observed continued ceasefire violations in the wider Horlivka area, but a lower number of ceasefire violations in areas at and around Donetsk airport compared to the two previous days. It continued to visit heavy weapons holding areas and permanent storage sites. In violation of the Mission’s mandate and the Package of Measures, unidentified armed men restricted the Mission’s freedom of movement, especially in parts of Luhansk region not controlled by the Government*. The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repair work on critical infrastructure along the contact line. In Kharkiv, the Mission followed up on media reports about a bomb threat. It monitored a protest in Ivano-Frankivsk and one rally in Kyiv.

The SMM observed the security situation in Donbas and noted continued ceasefire violations in the wider Horlivka (“DPR”-controlled, 39km north-east of Donetsk) area. From Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk) in the evening hours on 31 January, the SMM recorded about 200 undetermined explosions 10-12km south-west of its position.[1] On 1 February whilst in Horlivka, it recorded one undetermined explosion 8-10km east of its position.

The SMM recorded two undetermined explosions in Zaichenko (government-controlled, 26km north-east of Mariupol. In Debaltseve (“DPR”-controlled, 59km north-east of Donetsk) it recorded five undetermined explosions 5-10km north-west of its position.

The SMM recorded several ceasefire violations in the Marinka (government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk) area where it heard between 10:57 and 13:40hrs five undetermined explosions 10km south-west and one undetermined explosion 7km north-east of its position.

The SMM noted a lower number of ceasefire violations in areas at and around Donetsk airport compared to the previous two days. Whilst at the “DPR”-controlled central railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk city centre) between 7:45 and 13:50hrs[2] it heard two bursts of small-arms fire 3-5km to the north and heard one incoming mortar round (82mm) impacting at the remains of the new terminal area of Donetsk airport.

In government-controlled Maiorsk (45km north of Donetsk), the SMM followed up on reports about shelling on 30 and 31 January. The SMM analysed three fresh craters located in the vicinity of a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint and assessed that two of them had been caused by a 120mm mortar fired from the south. The SMM found in a third crater remnants of a 120mm mortar round, assessed as having been fired from the south. Whilst in Maiorsk, the SMM heard automatic grenade launcher impacts and small-arms fire about 2km north-east of its position.

In neighbouring, government-controlled part of Zaitseve* (50km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed in the area of an electricity substation five fresh craters, which it assessed had been caused by mortar rounds fired from the south-south-east. The SMM saw that power lines running to and from the substations were severed. According to Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel, shelling had occurred during the night between 30 and 31 January.

The SMM visited a house in the governmental-controlled residential part of Zaitseve which was severely damaged by shelling. The SMM saw that the whole roof was damaged and several windows shattered. The house has been rendered uninhabitable. According to residents, the shelling had occurred on 31 January at 18:15hrs.

The security situation remained relatively calm in Luhansk region. In Krasnyi Lyman (“LPR”-controlled, 30km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM recorded two undetermined explosions 5km west of its position and one burst of heavy-machine-gun fire 2km north of its position, assessed as live-fire exercise at a government-controlled training range in Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk).

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to critical infrastructure noting on-going repair work in government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk). Whilst there, the SMM heard five undetermined explosions at 10km south-west of its position. A mirror patrol in nearby “DPR”-controlled Oleksandrivka (20km south-west of Donetsk) heard one undetermined explosion at 7km north-east of its position. Due to lack of co-ordination the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) was unable to secure the required adherence to the ceasefire, and therefore repair work had to be cut short.

In relation to the implementation of the Addendum to the Package of Measures, the SMM revisited Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage sites whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines and noted that most weapons previously verified as withdrawn to these sites were present. The exception was noted at one site, where two mortars (2B9, 82mm) were missing.

Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside storage sites, the SMM observed the following Addendum-regulated weapons: 22 stationary tanks (T-64 and T-72) near “LPR”-controlled Myrne (41km south-west of Luhansk).

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of heavy weapons foreseen in the Minsk Package of Measures. The SMM has yet to receive the full information requested in the 16 October 2015 notification. The SMM revisited locations known to the SMM as heavy weapons holding areas, even though they do not comply with the specific criteria set out for permanent storage sites in the 16 October 2015 notification.

In government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM revisited such locations and observed: 20 multiple launch rocket systems (BM-21 Grad, 122mm), and six towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm).

In a “DPR”-controlled area beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM revisited such a location and observed: five self-propelled howitzers (2S1, 122mm) and two towed artillery systems (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm). Three previously recorded self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) were missing.

Beyond the withdrawal lines and outside storage sites the SMM observed the following: one tank (T-64) on a flatbed truck near Krasnoarmiisk (government-controlled, 55km north-west of Donetsk) and 12 self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) near “LPR”-controlled Uspenka (23km south-west of Luhansk).

The SMM also observed other hardware: four military-type trucks (Kamaz) full of men wearing clothes with “DPR” insignia in Donetsk city, two armoured vehicles (BTR) behind a school in the “DPR”-controlled part of Zaitseve.

The SMM continued to observe unexploded ordnance, noting in particular, what appeared to be the tail of an MLRS rocket (BM-27 Uragan, 220mm) located less than 50m away from a school in Debaltseve. The SMM marked the presence of the UXO.

In Kharkiv, the SMM followed up on media reports about a bomb threat and met a representative from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He said that police had received a bomb threat on 1 February which was directed against the Malyshev tank factory. The police had evacuated 70 people from the premises and after a search no explosives had been found, he added. According to him, the police had opened an investigation on charges of “intentional false report of the preparation of an explosion or fire or any other actions that may cause death of people or any other grave consequences” (Art. 259 of the Criminal Code).

On 29 January, the SMM monitored a protest held in Ivano-Frankivsk where it saw 70 people, mainly young men, the majority of whom were dressed in camouflage uniforms and Right Sector (Pravyi Sektor) insignia. The former regional leader of the Right Sector addressed the protesters and called on regional authorities to adopt an anti-government stance. The SMM did not observe any police presence. The protest finished with a march through the city centre and passed off peacefully.

In Kyiv, the SMM monitored a protest outside the presidential administration building where it observed about 100 men (25-50 years old) in different military-style clothing and different insignias (Donbas and Kryvbas volunteer battalions, Right Sector). The protesters demanded judicial review of the Ilovaisk events, which took place in summer 2014 in Ilovaisk. The SMM saw 20 police officers observing the protest and 30 National Guard members guarding the Presidential administration. The event passed off peacefully.

The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Dnepropetrovsk, and Chernivtsi.

*Restrictions to SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to the fulfilment of its mandate

The SMM is restrained in fulfilling its monitoring functions by restrictions imposed by the parties and security considerations, including mine threats, damaged infrastructure, and the unpredictability of the situation in Donbas. “LPR” members continue to prevent the SMM from monitoring many areas alongside the border in parts of Luhansk region not controlled by the Government.

Denial of access:

  • Armed “LPR” members refused to allow the SMM to enter a warehouse at a military-type compound in the north-eastern part of Luhansk city.

Conditional access:

  • Close to the “LPR” checkpoint immediately south of government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), armed “LPR” members insisted on seeing SMM patrol members’ identification, and knowing the purpose of the patrol, before allowing the SMM to proceed towards the checkpoint.

Other impediments:

  • The SMM did not operate its UAV around Zaitseve because the JCCC in Horlivka was unable to guarantee its security.
  •  En route from Kominternove (23km north-east of Mariupol) to Vodiane (19km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM encountered again an unmanned makeshift barricade which hampered its further travel.

 

*Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions to the SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to the fulfillment of its mandate”.

[1] For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.

[2] All times in this report refer to Eastern European Time.