This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM recorded ceasefire violations at and around Donetsk airport, and to a lesser extent in a number of other locations in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The SMM continued to note partial non-compliance in relation to the withdrawal of heavy weapons and Addendum-related weapons. Its freedom of movement was restricted three times in areas not controlled by the Government, resulting, in one instance, in an inability to reach the Ukraine-Russian Federation border*.
The security situation remained volatile in Donetsk region, with ceasefire violations[i] observed by the SMM, particularly at and around Donetsk airport. Positioned 6km north-west of Donetsk city-centre between 08:50 and 15:50hrs, the SMM recorded 45 explosions, of which seven were assessed as controlled, and eight as part of training exercises. Of the remainder, four were air burst explosions, occurring 200-300m west of the SMM’s position. In addition, the SMM recorded a limited number of ceasefire violations in other locations – explosions and small-arms and light-weapons fire – in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The SMM patrolled in three of four prioritized areas where demining work is expected to be conducted jointly with the facilitation of the SMM. In “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard four undetermined explosions 10km to the south-east; and, in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), nine explosions. In “DPR”-controlled Vuhlehirsk (48km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed a calm situation.
In addition, the SMM observed a number of other ceasefire violations, which it assessed to have been part of training exercises. Of note, an SMM mini-unmanned aerial vehicle, at a training ground in government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk), observed the use of small arms, a rocket propelled grenade launcher (RPG-7) and a machine-gun (BRDM-2 14, 5mm).
In relation to the implementation of the Addendum to the Package of measures, the SMM revisited a “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) permanent weapons storage site whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines. All previously-recorded weapons were present.
Also in areas beyond the withdrawal lines – but outside storage sites – the SMM observed the following Addendum-proscribed weapons: approximately 35 main battle tanks (MBT; T-64 and T-72) near “DPR”-controlled Ternove (57km east of Donetsk); and, one MBT (T-72) near government-controlled Rubizhne (84km north-west of Luhansk).
The SMM also observed a number of Addendum-proscribed weapons located at two Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas.
The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal 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 six towed artillery pieces (2A29/MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) and 12 towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm). Six artillery pieces (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) previously recorded were missing from one of the holding areas. At a “DPR” heavy weapons holding area, the SMM observed six self-propelled howitzers (2S2 Gvozdika, 122mm).
In addition to heavy weapons at holding areas, the SMM observed the following heavy weapons in areas in violation of the agreed withdrawal lines: one anti-tank guided missile system (9K111 Fagot type, 120mm) near government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk); and, one artillery piece (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) near government-controlled Novookhtyrka (53km north-west of Luhansk).
The SMM monitored the presence of other hardware. It observed: 21 military-type and three signal trucks near “DPR”-controlled Makiivka (12km north-east of Donetsk); one infantry armoured fighting vehicle (BMP-1), one ZSU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun mounted on an armoured personnel carrier (APC), and two military-type trucks near “DPR”-controlled Novoazovsk (40km east of Mariupol); one military-type truck with armed individuals near “LPR”-controlled Novosvitlivka (18km south-east of Luhansk); one APC (MT-LB) near government-controlled Lebedynske (16km north-east of Mariupol); an anti-aircraft weapons system and a military MI-8 helicopter near government-controlled Svatove (126km north-west of Luhansk); ten APCs (BTR-70), each carrying approximately ten armed personnel, and 11 military trucks near government-controlled Sievierodonetsk (73km north-west of Luhansk); and, two armoured vehicles (one Hummer and one BRDM-2) near government-controlled Pavlopil (26km north-east of Mariupol).
The SMM monitored movement of civilians across the contact line. In government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint commander told the SMM that approximately 2,500 people cross the bridge in both directions on a daily basis. The SMM observed approximately 250 people waiting to enter “LPR”-controlled areas, and approximately 100 into government-controlled territory, at the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint. The SMM observed a heated tent close to the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint where tea, coffee and some warm clothes were provided.
The SMM monitored a number of locations – not controlled by the Government – along the Ukraine-Russian Federation border. In particular, in “DPR”-controlled Marynivka (78km east of Donetsk), the SMM observed 23 trucks, mostly transporting coal, waiting to enter the Russian Federation. Near “LPR”-controlled Rovenky, armed “LPR” members prevented the SMM from proceeding to the “LPR”-controlled Novoborovytsi border crossing point (80km south-east of Luhansk), citing on-going demining, even though other vehicles were allowed to proceed*.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Kyiv 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 close to the border with the Russian Federation in parts of Luhansk region not controlled by the Government.
Denial of access:
– In “DPR”-controlled Zaichenko (26km north-east of Mariupol), a “DPR” “commander” refused to allow the SMM passage, saying he needed approval from his superiors.
- Two armed “LPR” members prevented the SMM from entering “LPR”-controlled Pionerske (19km east of Luhansk).
- Near “LPR”-controlled Rovenky, armed “LPR” members prevented the SMM from proceeding to the “LPR”-controlled Novoborovytsi border crossing point (80km south-east of Luhansk).