This report is for the media and the general public.
The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission recorded ceasefire violations inside the Petrivske disengagement area and near the Stanytsia Luhanska and Zolote disengagement areas. Its access remained restricted in the disengagement areas and elsewhere, including in Siedove near the border with the Russian Federation.* The Mission saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines in Bakhmut and Nyzhnoteple. It facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance of essential infrastructure in Shchastia and Artema. The SMM visited a border area not under government control.
On the night of 26-27 October, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard 17 undetermined explosions 1-3km south and south-east, 114 explosions assessed as impacts of automatic-grenade-launcher fire 1-2km south and small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire 1-3km south and south-east. On 27 October, while at the same location, the SMM heard one undetermined explosion and heavy-machine-gun fire 2-3km south-east.
On the evening of 26-27 October, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north-west of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, 26 projectiles in flight from east to west, one projectile from west to east, 15 projectiles from east to west, three projectiles from north-west to south-east and nine from east to west, followed by a total of six projectiles from east to west, two from west to east, nine from north to south, two from south-east to north-west, two from north-east to south-west and two undetermined explosions, all 0.5-1km south of the camera. On the evening of 27 October the SMM camera recorded one projectile in flight from west to east and two from east to west, all 1-2km south.
Positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about six hours the SMM heard 79 undetermined explosions, heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 1-5km west and south-west.
Positioned in south-western parts of government-controlled Avdiivka (16km north of Donetsk) for about five hours the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 5-7km south-east and heavy-machine-gun fire 3-4km south-east.
On the evening of 27 October the SMM camera at the entry-exit checkpoint (EECP) in government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk) recorded a total of 57 projectiles in flight from west to east and five from east to west at an unknown distance north-north-west.
In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including four explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (70 explosions).
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.*
While in government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) on the night of 26-27 October the SMM heard three explosions, one assessed as a mortar round and the other two undetermined, as well as small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire 2-5km south. The SMM was unable to assess if the violations occurred inside or outside the disengagement area.
Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske, the SMM heard a burst of small-arms fire 0.5-1km south-west (assessed as inside the disengagement area).
Positioned on the northern edge of the disengagement area near government-controlled Zolote the SMM heard one shot 500m south-east (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 government-controlled areas, the SMM observed three self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) on flatbed trucks near the railway station in Bakhmut (formerly Artemivsk, 67km north of Donetsk). The SMM also saw four tanks (T-64) being transported on flatbed trailers north-east of Nyzhnoteple (26km north of Luhansk) heading south-west and four tanks (T-64) loaded on four trucks north-east of Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) heading west.
Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites the SMM observed 35 tanks (T-64) on rail cars at the railway station in Bakhmut and a stationary tank (T-72) in a convoy near government-controlled Bila Hora (67km north-west of Luhansk).
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 observed five towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm), nine mortars (one BM-37, 82mm and eight 2B11 Sani, 120mm), two of which the Ukrainian Armed Forces were returning to the site while the SMM was present. The following weapons continued to be absent from such sites: one towed howitzer (2A65) and nine anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira), six towed howitzers (D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm), 19 mortars (12 M-120 Molot, 120mm and seven 2B11 Sani, 120mm)
The SMM revisited an “LPR” permanent storage site, whose location was beyond withdrawal lines and noted that one tank (T-64) continued to be absent.
The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles in the security zone. In government-controlled areas the SMM saw ten armoured personnel carriers (APC) (BTR-80) moving east on the night of 26 October in Stanytsia Luhanska, one stationary infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) in Stanytsia Luhanska on 26 October and one APC (BTR-60) heading north near Voitove (33km north-west of Luhansk) also on 26 October. On 27 October the SMM observed four APCs (MT-LB), two armoured combat vehicles (BREM-Ch) and one armoured recovery vehicle (T-55) all stationary near Shchastia, five stationary APCs (one BTR-70 and four MT-LB) in Stanytsia Luhanska and three APCs (Kozak) near Peredilske (24km north-west of Luhansk), two IFVs (BMP variant) near Avdiivka, an APC (MT-LB) heading east near Orlivka (22km north-west of Donetsk).
The SMM heard an explosion in Donetsk city at about 16:30 on 26 October. The SMM visited the site of the explosion, a five-storey apartment block at 84 Chervonoarmiiska Street, and observed that some windows on the west-facing yard-side of the first to third floors had been blown out and that some windows on the fourth floor had been partially blown out. The SMM saw rescue workers carrying an injured woman out of the building. A rescue worker told the SMM that an explosion had taken place between the second and fourth floors and that the cause was unknown. According to him, six people had sustained injuries, four of whom had been taken to hospital and two refused to be hospitalized. Staff at the Donetsk Trauma Hospital told the SMM that a 40-year-old man year old was undergoing treatment for a leg injury.
The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance work, co-ordinated by the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), to the power plant in government-controlled Shchastia and to the Artema-Petrivske pumping station in government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk). The SMM also facilitated repair to a 900m section of water pipeline between government-controlled Berezove (31km south-west of Donetsk) and “DPR”-controlled Olenivka (23km south-west of Donetsk) carried out by the Voda Donbassa water company.
The SMM facilitated demining along the road between two “DPR” checkpoints in Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, 29km north-east of Mariupol). The SMM observed deminers remove a mortar shell (120mm) without a fuse about 400m east of one of the “DPR” checkpoints.
The SMM visited a border area not under government control. While at the Novoazovsk border crossing point (102km south-east of Donetsk) for about 30 minutes, the SMM saw two vehicles (one with Russian Federation licence plates, the other not seen) and a cargo truck (licence plate not seen) exiting Ukraine.
The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Chernivtsi, and Kyiv.
*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 23 October 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:
- Armed men stopped the SMM at a checkpoint in non-government-controlled Siedove (106km south of Donetsk), near the border with the Russian Federation, and denied the SMM access. The SMM has been denied access to the town since April 2017. 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. 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. Ukrainian Armed Forces officers of the JCCC at a checkpoint on the northern 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 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 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.
- An armed man stopped the SMM at a checkpoint in 2km south-west of “LPR”-controlled Molodizhne, (63km north-west of Luhansk) and refused to remove six visible anti-tank mines from the road. The SMM was unable to travel further and informed the JCCC.
* 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.