This report is for the media and the general public.
The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission reached Travneve, where it spoke with civilians and saw military presence. It also followed up on reports of civilian casualties in Dokuchaievsk. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded a ceasefire violation in the disengagement area near Petrivske and near the disengagement area near Stanytsia Luhanska. Its access remained restricted in the disengagement areas and elsewhere, including in Uzhivka.* The SMM saw weapons in violation of the withdrawal lines near Shymshynivka and Haiove. The SMM facilitated and monitored repairs of essential infrastructure near Travneve, Vesela Hora and Artema.
On the evening and night of 14-15 December, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in aggregate, 31 undetermined explosions, 155 projectiles (103 in flight from east to west and 52 in flight from west to east), an illumination flare in vertical flight and an airburst, all 0.5-1.5km south.
On the evening and night of 14-15 December, the SMM camera 1km south-west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, in sequence, 29 projectiles in flight from east to west, nine projectiles from west to east, an illumination flare in vertical flight, three projectiles from east to west, 12 projectiles from west to east, six projectiles from east to west, a projectile from west to east and four projectiles from east to west, all 5-8km north.
Positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) during the day on 15 December, the SMM heard about 80 undetermined explosions as well as heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 1-6km in westerly directions, and about 50 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 3-4km south-east.
Positioned on the south-western edge of government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) during the day on 15 December, the SMM heard 17 undetermined explosions and 20 shots of automatic grenade launcher fire, all 2-5km in southerly directions.
Positioned at the central railway station in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city (6km north-west of city centre), the SMM heard about 90 explosions, as well as heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 2-5km at directions ranging from west to north-west.
While in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk) on the evening of 14 December, the SMM heard about 180 undetermined explosions as well as heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 5-8km south-west and north-west.
While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) on the evening and night of 14-15 December, the SMM heard about 40 explosions (including 14 assessed as impacts of mortar rounds, three assessed as outgoing mortar rounds, three assessed as impacts of recoilless gun (SPG-9, 73mm) rounds and two assessed as outgoing artillery rounds; the remainder were undetermined), as well as heavy-machine-gun and infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) fire, all 2-5km at directions ranging from south-south-east to west.
In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 80 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (28 explosions).
During the evening on 14 December, while in government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard about 80 explosions assessed as artillery rounds and 17 shots of IFV (BMP-2) cannon fire 5-10km at directions ranging from south-east to south-west.
The SMM reached Travneve (51km north-east of Donetsk) and followed up on the situation of civilians living there. (See SMM Daily Report 14 December 2017.) On 15 December, the SMM entered Travneve, accompanied by Ukrainian Armed Forces officers of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) and representatives of the military-civil administration and State Emergency Services. In the village, the SMM observed that some houses had marks on their entrance gates: according to local residents, red circles indicated the houses were inhabited while black crosses meant they were uninhabited. The SMM noted that members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces had occupied some of the latter houses. The SMM also saw at least two soldiers with black Aidar battalion patches on their uniforms in the town. At the western end of Haidara Street, the SMM observed an armed man near a recently dug trench. At the eastern end of the street, the SMM saw a soldier of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and a south-pointing heavy machine-gun at a position about 100m from the nearest houses.
At 12 Haidara Street in Travneve, the SMM observed a house with a damaged roof that was being repaired by members of a fire brigade and State Emergency Services. The house’s 75‑year-old resident told the SMM that a shell had struck her home’s roof on the night of 3 December. Six of the village’s residents told the SMM that electricity supplied to the village was insufficient, and that local wells provided only non-potable water. Residents told the SMM they had to travel on foot or by bicycle 2.5km to “DPR”-controlled Holmivskyi (49km north-east of Donetsk) to buy food and medicine.
The SMM followed up on reports of civilian casualties in “DPR”-controlled Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk). At the hospital in Dokuchaievsk, the SMM spoke with two patients, one of whom told the SMM he had been injured on 14 December at 11 Frunze Street, while the other had been injured on 7 December on Vatutina Street. He told the SMM he had sustained shrapnel injuries to his chest and had undergone surgery on 14 December, while the second patient – whose entire left arm was bandaged – said he had sustained shrapnel injuries to his arm and leg. They both said that a third patient, a 61-year-old man who had sustained shrapnel injuries to his lower back on 14 December, had shared the hospital room with them until he was released the morning of 15 December. A Russian Federation Armed Forces officer of the JCCC also told the SMM that a 61-year-old man had sustained shrapnel injuries to his lower back at 24 Vatutina Street on 14 December. (See SMM Daily Report 14 December 2017.)
The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote (60km west of Luhansk) and Petrivske (41km south of Donetsk), as foreseen in the Framework Decision of the Trilateral Contact Group relating to disengagement of forces and hardware of 21 September 2016. The SMM’s access remained restricted but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*
On 13 December, the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded a tracer round in flight from east to west 1-2km south-south-west and assessed as inside the disengagement area.
On 14 December, positioned at the disengagements areas near Petrivske, government‑controlled Stanytsia Luhanska and government‑controlled Zolote, the SMM observed calm situations.
On the evening of 15 December, the SMM camera at the Prince Ihor Monument south-east of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge recorded four explosions (three assessed as outgoing fire of rounds of undetermined weapons, and one assessed as the launch and vertical flight of a flare) 3.5km north-west, assessed as outside the disengagement area.
The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons in implementation of the Package of Measures and its Addendum, as well as the Memorandum.
In violation of the respective withdrawal lines in non‑government-controlled areas, the SMM observed a tank in Haiove (14km west of Luhansk) on 14 December; aerial imagery revealed the presence of seven self‑propelled howitzers (type unknown) near Shymshynivka (27km south-west of Luhansk) on 11 December.
Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in government-controlled areas, the SMM observed two towed mortars (2B16 Nona-K, 120mm) and two towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm) near Minkivka (78km north of Donetsk). In non‑government-controlled areas, aerial imagery revealed the presence of 16 towed howitzers (type unknown) and 22 tanks (type unknown), as well as 80 military-type armoured vehicles and 71 military-type trucks, near Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk) on 11 December.
The SMM revisited an “LPR” heavy weapons permanent storage site and found that seven towed howitzers (D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm) remained missing.
The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles, new trenches and anti-tank mines in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, on 12 December, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted seven IFVs (six BMP-1 and a BMP-2) and a minimum of 275 anti-tank mines near Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), eight armoured personnel carriers (APC) (BTR-variant) and 15 mortar pits near Vesele (21km north of Donetsk), an APC (MT-LB) near Romanivka (41km north of Donetsk), and a newly dug trench and several recently dug firing positions near Hladosove (51km north-east of Donetsk). On 14 December, the SMM saw four IFVs (BMP-variant) and a reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) near Popasna, two APCs (BTR-80) near Shchastia and an IFV (BMP-1) near Novoluhanske (53km north-east of Donetsk). In non‑government-controlled areas, on 14 December, the SMM saw an armoured combat vehicle in Petrivske.
The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance works, co‑ordinated by the JCCC, to power lines near Travneve and “LPR”-controlled Vesela Hora (16km north of Luhansk), and to the water pumping station near government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk).
In Kyiv, the SMM observed a group of 15 men (middle-aged, some wearing all black) creating a barrier of wires and bricks around the about 35 tents set up in front of the national Parliament building. (See SMM Daily Report 21 October 2017.)
The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnipro, and Chernivtsi.
*Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate
The SMM’s monitoring and freedom of movement are restricted by security hazards and threats, including risks posed by mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) 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. They have also agreed that the JCCC should contribute to such response and co-ordinate mine clearance. Nonetheless, the armed formations in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions frequently deny the SMM access to areas adjacent to Ukraine’s border outside control of the Government, citing orders to do so. (See, for example, SMM Daily Report 13 December 2017.) The SMM’s operations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions remained restricted following the fatal incident of 23 April near Pryshyb; these restrictions continued to limit the Mission’s observations.
Denial of access:
- Plastic, liquid-filled containers laid across the road blocked the SMM’s passage south of Uzhivka (formerly Leninske, “DPR”-controlled, 24km north-east of Mariupol). The SMM informed the JCCC.
Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:
- The SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads south of the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. “LPR” members positioned on the southern side of the Zolote disengagement area told the SMM that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.
- The SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads in the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM that he had no information about the de-mining process. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.
- The SMM was prevented from accessing parts of the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, with the exception of the main road, due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM that no de-mining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.
- The SMM could not travel across the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) due to the presence of mines. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC said there were mines on the road south of the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC.
Please see the annexed table for a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations as well as a map of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions marked with locations featured in this report. Four SMM cameras continue to be tested until the end of December 2017.
* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate.”
 This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.