This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM monitored the implementation of the “Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements”, including the Addendum. Its monitoring was restricted by the parties and security considerations*. The SMM recorded a significant increase of ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including at Donetsk airport. Some of the explosions and gunfire observed were assessed as training or demining activities. The SMM observed long queues of civilian vehicles waiting at government-controlled checkpoints at the contact line and at border crossing points between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
From its position at “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard a total of 207 explosions (most of them undetermined) and multiple bursts of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire mainly at locations 3-5km west-south-west, west-north-west and north-west. Besides the airport, in 12 locations of Donetsk region along the contact line, the SMM also heard a total of 373 explosions and multiple bursts of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire. For instance, in government-controlled Novhorodske (35km north of Donetsk), the SMM recorded 134 explosions (approximately 60 per cent incoming and 40 per cent outgoing), most of which it assessed as 120mm mortar fire – weapons that are restricted in this proximity of the contact line. Likewise, positioned in government-controlled Keramik (28km north of Donetsk), it heard 13 explosions assessed to be 120mm and 82mm mortar fire at a distance of 15-17km south-south-west of its position. In government-controlled Krasnohorivka (21km west of Donetsk), the SMM heard 77 undetermined explosions and 19 bursts and 33 shots of small arms. Whilst in government-controlled Mykolaivka (63km north of Mariupol), the SMM recorded more than ten undetermined explosions and several bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire south-south-east of its position. Residents informed the SMM that they had heard explosions and shootings since the morning, expressing concern and fear about the situation.
In “DPR”-controlled Staromykhailivka (16km west of Donetsk), the SMM visited two locations, where it observed two houses hit by 30mm cannon. According to residents, shelling occurred during the night of 23 November. The SMM observed a slight damage to metal fence in a yard at the first location and hole in a roof at the second location. At both locations, the SMM assessed that the fire had originated from the north-west or north-north-west. Whilst on the eastern outskirts of the town, the SMM heard 19 undetermined explosions 6-8km west-north-west of its position.
In Luhansk region, the SMM heard a total of 67 undetermined explosions and multiple small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire in nine separate locations – mostly in areas north-west of “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled Luhansk city, including government-controlled Nyzhnie, Novoaidar and Trokhizbenka as well as “LPR”-controlled Slovianoserbsk and Smile (56, 49, 31, 32 and 28km north-west of Luhansk, respectively). Whist in Nyzhnie, for example, the SMM heard 22 explosions at a distance of 10-15km south-west of its position.
Some explosions and gunfire heard in Donetsk and Luhansk regions were assessed as activities related to training or demining. For example, in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard a considerable number of detonations from the general direction of government-controlled Tonenke (19km north-west of Donetsk). The SMM assessed that some of the sounds were related to demining activity and others were related to live-fire exercises. A Ukrainian Armed Forces battalion commander said they were conducting training and demining activity in the area. In “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 106 undetermined explosions 8-10km south of its position and assessed them to have occurred at a known firing range in “DPR”-controlled Karl Marksove (39km north-east of Donetsk). Whilst in “LPR”-controlled Hannivka (38m south-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard eight loud explosions assessed as occurring at a known shooting range in “LPR”-controlled Perevalsk (38km direction of Luhansk).
The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal and movement of heavy weapons. Neither “DPR” nor “LPR” members have yet provided inventories or locations of designated permanent storage sites for these weapons as requested by the SMM on 16 October. The Ukrainian military authorities have also as of yet to provide such information. Nonetheless, the SMM revisited locations beyond the respective withdrawal lines known to the SMM as heavy weapons holding areas, even though these did not comply with the specific criteria set out in the 16 October notification.
At Ukrainian Armed Forces holding areas, the SMM observed in total 15 self-propelled howitzers (seven 2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm and eight 2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), 15 anti-tank guns (MT12 Rapira, 100mm), 12 multiple launcher rocket systems (BM21 Grad, 122mm), 26 mortars (23 2B11, 120mm and three BM38, 82mm), and 21 towed howitzers (three D30, 122mm and 18 2A65, 152mm).
In other areas beyond the withdrawal lines, the SMM observed the following Addendum-proscribed weapons: 20 main battle tanks (MBT; T64) in a training area in “LPR”-controlled Kruhlyk (31km south-west of Luhansk).
The SMM also monitored the movement of other hardware: a convoy of 14 military-type trucks (mostly Ural) heading west between “DPR”-controlled Zugres and Shakhtarsk (32 and 50km east of Donetsk, respectively), 15 military-type trucks (Ural and Kamaz) going to and from Donetsk airport throughout the day, including one Ural truck mounted with an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) driving towards the airport.
The SMM visited a number of crossing points along the Ukraine-Russian Federation border in Donetsk region. In “DPR”-controlled Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed 192 civilian cars and 30 civilian trucks queuing to cross to the Russian Federation. Two drivers separately told the SMM that they had been waiting for 19-20 hours. In “DPR”-controlled Marynivka (77km east-south-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed 25 civilian cars and 15 civilian trucks waiting to cross into the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, at a checkpoint in the vicinity of “LPR”-controlled Diakove (70km south of Luhansk) , two armed “LPR” members denied the SMM to proceed towards the border area of Diakove*.
The SMM monitored the humanitarian situation on both sides of the contact line. In government-controlled Makarove (20km north-east of Luhansk), a female resident (aged 60) told the SMM that although a school was operational in the village her granddaughter went to school in government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) because of the presence of military on her way to school in Makarove. In “DPR”-controlled Starobesheve (32km south-east of Donetsk), the “head” of the “district administration” told the SMM that the population had increased from 44,000 during the height of the conflict 2015 to currently 55,000, including 960 “registered” internally displaced persons, whereas the district had 58,000 inhabitants before the conflict.
Near “LPR”-controlled Novosvitlivka (16km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM observed a convoy consisting of four non-military-type trucks with Russian Federation licence number plates, escorted by “LPR” “police” cars heading south.
The SMM observed impediments to the movement of civilians across the contact line. At a checkpoint in government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed a queue of 575 civilian cars, eight minibuses and 100 civilian pedestrians waiting to cross into government-controlled areas and some 30 civilian cars waiting to cross in the opposite direction. The SMM noted a similar situation at a checkpoint in government-controlled Maksymilianivka (25km south-west of Donetsk), where more than 380 cars and eight mini buses waited to cross into government-controlled areas and some 30 civilian cars were heading to the opposite side.
The SMM followed up on the explosions damaging power supply pylons and subsequently disrupting the power supply across the administrative boundary line (ABL) between Kherson and Crimea (see SMM Daily Report 21 November). The SMM visited Valok resort (205km south-east of Kherson) on the Arabat Spit, where border guards present told the SMM that the security situation had generally been calm with no provocations or visible increase in military personnel or equipment on the other side of the ABL. In Chonhar (161km south-east of Kherson), the SMM observed that the damaged pylons were in the same condition as the previous day. One of the activists who were guarding the pylons preventing their repair, a Crimean Tatar man, said no one had visited the site over the past 24 hours. Kherson regional police told the SMM that police had conducted a raid on the blockade in Chaplynka (70km south-east of Kherson) on 21 November; one of the interlocutors denied media reports that a police officer had been stabbed, adding that he himself had been involved in that incident and had received a light injury by a sharp object.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Chernivtsi, and Kyiv.
*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 close to the border with the Russian Federation in parts of Luhansk region not controlled by the Government.
Denial of access:
- At a checkpoint near “LPR”-controlled Diakove (70km south of Luhansk), two armed “LPR” members denied the SMM passage citing security reasons: the area that it intended to visit, the border area of Diakove, was undergoing demining.
- At a checkpoint in “LPR”-controlled Veselohorivka (64km west of Luhansk), four armed “LPR” members delayed the SMM for 43 minutes. After they received command from their superior, the SMM was allowed to proceed further.
* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions to SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to the fulfilment of its mandate”.
 For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.