This report is for the media and the general public.
The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and more in Luhansk region compared with the previous reporting period.The SMM continued monitoring all three disengagement areas; it recorded a projectile in flight, assessed as inside the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area. Its access remained restricted in all three areas and elsewhere, including at a checkpoint near Olenivka.* The SMM saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near Illinka. The Mission facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance to the thermal power plant in Shchastia and high-voltage power lines near Donetskyi. In Kyiv, the SMM followed up on reports of an explosion which killed two people and injured three others and on reports of a fire in a building. Also in Kyiv, it monitored the ongoing gathering in front of the national Parliament building.
On the evening and night of 25-26 October, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 90 undetermined explosions, about 270 shots and bursts of small-arms fire and about 70 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 2-6km east and east-south-east. During the day on 26 October, the SMM heard about 20 undetermined explosions and at least ten bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 1-3km east-south-east and south-east.
On the evening of 25 October, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded, within a minute, four undetermined explosions 2-4km east-south-east. During the day on 26 October, the same camera recorded an undetermined explosion 2-4km east-south-east. The same day, positioned on the south-western edge of Avdiivka for about five hours, the SMM heard three undetermined explosions and four bursts of small-arms fire 3-5km east-south-east.
On the evening of 25 October, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km northwest of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, 20 projectiles in flight from east to west, an undetermined explosion, two projectiles in flight from south-east to north-west, and four projectiles in flight from north-west to south-east, followed by totals of two undetermined explosions and 86 projectiles in flight (two from south-east to north-west, 61 from east to west, nine from west to east, 14 from east-south-east to west-north-west), all 0.5-2km south.
During the day on 26 October, positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about three hours, the SMM heard 12 undetermined explosions and five bursts of small-arms fire, all 3-8km at directions ranging from west to north. During the day on 26 October, positioned on the south-western edge of Yasynuvata for about three hours, the SMM heard about 110 undetermined explosions, about 40 bursts and shots of small-arms fire and at least ten bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 3-10km south-west at directions ranging from west to north.
During the day on 26 October, positioned for about three hours 1km south of “DPR”-controlled Novohryhorivka (61km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 20 undetermined explosions, an explosion assessed as an impact and about 30 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 4-10km north and five shots of small-arms fire 2-4km west; it also heard and saw an explosion assessed as an impact 7-10km north.
During the day on 26 October, positioned about 2km west of “DPR”-controlled Khreshchatytske (formerly Krasnoarmiiske, 86km south of Donetsk) for about three hours, the SMM heard three undetermined explosions at an unknown distance south-south-east and uncountable explosions assessed as a probable outgoing salvo of multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) at an unknown distance east-south-east, assessed as a live-fire exercise.
During the day on 26 October, positioned about 3km north-east of “DPR”-controlled Zaichenko (26km north-east of Mariupol) for about an hour and a half, the SMM heard nine undetermined explosions at unknown distances east and south-east. Positioned about 1km north of Zaichenko, the SMM heard, within a minute, uncountable explosions assessed as a possible outgoing salvo of an MLRS at an undetermined distance east, assessed as a live-fire exercise (positioned near Khreshchatytske, see above, the SMM heard what was probably the same outgoing MLRS salvo).
In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 70 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (four explosions).
During the evening of 25 October, while in government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard about 50 undetermined explosions, four explosions assessed as outgoing mortar (82mm and 120mm) rounds, an explosion assessed as an outgoing rocket-propelled grenade, an explosion assessed as a mortar round, about ten shots of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) fire, and about 20 shots and bursts of small-arms fire, all 3-12km at directions ranging from east-south-east to south-south-west. During the day on 26 October, while in the same location, the SMM heard three explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds, at least ten bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, and ten shots of IFV (BMP-2) cannon fire, all 3-12km at directions ranging from east-north-east to south-south-west.
During the evening of 25 October, while in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard eight explosions of artillery (or mortar) rounds 10-16km west-north-west.
During the day on 26 October, positioned in government-controlled Orikhove (57km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard ten explosions assessed as mortar (82mm) rounds and at least 500 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 3-4km east.
The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), 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.*
During the day on 26 October, positioned near the government checkpoint north of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, inside the disengagement area, the SMM heard two explosions (and saw smoke rising) 500m east, assessed as caused by booby traps or mines. The SMM could not assess whether they were inside or outside the disengagement area. In the late afternoon of 26 October, the SMM camera in Stanytsia Luhanska recorded a projectile in flight from east to west 1-2km south, assessed as inside the disengagement area.
Positioned in and near the Zolote disengagement area, the SMM observed a calm situation.
The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons, in accordance with the Package of Measures and its Addendum, as well as the Memorandum.
In violation of the respective withdrawal lines, in a government-controlled area, the SMM saw five towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) heading south near Illinka (38km west of Donetsk).
Beyond the respective withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in government-controlled areas, the SMM saw a stationary surface-to-air missile system (9K33 Osa) 3km south-east of Novoaidar (49km north-west of Luhansk), a surface-to-air missile system (9K33) 2km east of Novoaidar heading south, and 26 tanks (T-72) and 12 anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) on train wagons at the railway station in Bakhmut (formerly Artemivsk, 67km north of Donetsk).
The SMM observed weapons that could not be verified as withdrawn, as their storage did not comply with the criteria set out in the 16 October 2015 notification from the SMM to the signatories of the Package of Measures on effective monitoring and verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw 12 towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm) and noted that 13 towed howitzers (2A65), 16 anti-tank guns (MT-12), and four mortars (2B9 Vasilek, 82mm) continued to be absent. The SMM noted that 12 towed howitzers (2A65) were missing for the first time.
The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and an anti-aircraft gun in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw, on 25 October, seven stationary IFVs (three BRM-1K and four BMP-1) and two stationary reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM-2) near Popasna; two stationary IFVs (BMP-2) and a truck (Kraz) with a heavy machine-gun (12.7mm) mounted on top on the northern edge outside of the Zolote disengagement area; two IFVs (BMP-2) near Stanytsia Luhanska; a stationary armoured personnel carrier (APC) (BTR-60) and an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) near Artema (26km north of Luhansk); and on 26 October, three anti-aircraft guns (ZU-23) – two being towed and one stationary – near Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk), and an APC (BTR-60) near Orlivka (22km north-west of Donetsk) heading west.
The SMM observed the presence of mines. On 26 October, positioned 1.6km south-east of the entry-exit checkpoint near government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM saw again 30 anti-tank mines 5m north of road H15. Positioned 2.8km south-east of the same checkpoint, the SMM saw again seven anti-tank mines 10m south of road H15.
The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance works, co-ordinated by the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), to the thermal power plant in government-controlled Shchastia and high-voltage power lines near “LPR”-controlled Donetskyi (49km north-west of Luhansk).
The SMM followed up on media reports of an explosion in Kyiv which killed two people and injured three others in front of the offices of a TV station at 10 Mitskevycha Street. On 26 October, the SMM saw that two police cars and police tape had cordoned off Mitskevycha Street at both ends. It saw about ten police officers inside the cordoned-off area and, from a distance, a green sport utility vehicle, whose front was partially destroyed. The SMM also saw at least three shattered windows on the second floor of the building at 10 Mitskevycha Street, directly above the car. The SMM saw a total of three police cars and 15 police officers present at the scene, as well as a sport utility vehicle with the “Donbas battalion” logo on the driver’s door parked behind the building. During its stay, the SMM observed a calm situation.
The SMM continued to monitor the gathering in front of the national Parliament building. (See SMM Daily Report 26 October 2017.) The SMM saw about 50-70 people (mostly men, aged 40-60), many wearing military-style clothing, and about ten tents adjacent to the Parliament building on Hrushevskoho Street blocking the traffic in the immediate area. The Mission observed that the number of law enforcement officers (about 20) had decreased compared with the previous day (about 300 police and National Guard officers). The SMM did not observe any incidents during its presence.
Also in Kyiv the SMM followed up on reports of a fire in a building at 60 Obukhivska Street. The building was known to the SMM from previous monitoring to accommodate about 30 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 12 ATO participants. On 26 October, at 60 Obukhivka Street, the SMM saw that police officers were present at the scene and saw damage assessed as caused by fire to the third floor of the building. A woman (an IDP, aged 60-70) told the SMM that on the night of 25-26 October, residents of the building had called the fire brigade at about 03:30.
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 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 Mission’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 23 October 2017.) The Mission’s freedom of movement is also restricted by security hazards and threats on both sides of the contact line, including those related to mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO), some of which vary from day to day. The SMM’s operations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions remain restricted following the fatal incident of 23 April near Pryshyb; these restrictions continued to limit the Mission’s observations.
Denial of access:
Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:
- 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 was prevented from accessing secondary roads south of the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. Armed “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 at a checkpoint north of the Zolote disengagement area told the Mission 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 could not travel across the bridge in Shchastia 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.
- Armed men stopped the SMM at a checkpoint near “DPR”-controlled Olenivka (23km south-west of Donetsk) and allowed the SMM to proceed only after searching its vehicles.
* 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.