Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 5 November 2017

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and fewer in Luhansk region between the evenings of 3 and 4 November compared with the previous 24 hours. Between the evenings of 4 and 5 November, the Mission recorded fewer ceasefire violations – including, however, an outgoing salvo of a multiple launch rocket system south-south-west of Horlivka – in Donetsk region and more in Luhansk region compared with the previous 24 hours. It followed up on a report of a civilian casualty in the Trudivski area of Donetsk city’s Petrovskyi district and observed damage to civilian residences from shelling and gunfire in Staromykhailivka and Pryshyb. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas and recorded ceasefire violations in the Petrivske disengagement area and near the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area. Its access remained restricted in all three areas and elsewhere.* The Mission saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near Kurakhove.It facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance to essential infrastructure near Artema and Novozvanivka. The SMM continued to monitor the situation of civilians walking across the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge. It visited four border areas not under government control.

In Donetsk region between the evenings of 3 and 4 November the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations,[1] including about 330 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours (about 300 explosions). Between the evenings of 4 and 5 November, the Mission recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including about 220 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours.

On the evening of 3 November the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, a projectile in flight from north-west to south-east, three projectiles from east-south-east to west-north-west, four undetermined explosions, seven projectiles from east-south-east to west-north-west, a projectile from north-west to south-east, three undetermined explosions, 17 tracer rounds in flight from east-south-east to west-north-west, nine projectiles from east to west, and four undetermined explosions, followed by totals of 16 undetermined explosions, 82 projectiles (one from north to south, 29 from east to west, seven from east-south-east to west-north-west, 29 from south-east to north-west, 15 from west to east, and one from north-north-west to south-south-east), and an illumination flare (trajectory undetermined), all 0.5-2km south.

On the evening of 4 November the same camera recorded, in sequence, two undetermined explosions, five projectiles in flight from east to west, an undetermined explosion, a projectile from east to west, three undetermined explosions, seven projectiles from east to west, an undetermined explosion, two projectiles from east to west, and an illumination flare (trajectory undetermined), followed by totals of 14 undetermined explosions, 64 projectiles (40 from east to west, 12 from west to east, and 12 with an undetermined trajectory), and an illumination flare (trajectory undetermined), all 0.5-2km south.

On the evening of 5 November, the same camera recorded, in sequence, four to ten undetermined explosions and four projectiles in flight from north-west to south-east, all at unknown distances south.

During the day on 4 November, positioned on the south-western edge of government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) for over five hours, the SMM heard 34 undetermined explosions and small-arms fire, all 2-5km south-east. In the evening, the SMM camera in Avdiivka recorded 11 undetermined explosions 4-6km south-east.

On the afternoon and early evening of 5 November the same camera recorded, in sequence, three projectiles in flight from east-north-east to west-south-west, about 25 projectiles from south-south-west to north-north-east, and about 20 undetermined explosions, all at unknown distances east-south-east.

On 4 November, positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about five and a half hours, the SMM heard 122 undetermined explosions, over 40 shots of automatic-grenade-launcher fire, about 60 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, and about 230 bursts and shots of small-arms fire, mostly 1-5km west. On 5 November, positioned at the same location for about six and a half hours, the SMM heard 37 undetermined explosions and over 70 bursts and shots of small-arms fire, all 2-4km at directions ranging from west-south-west to north-north-west.

On 4 November, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Staromykhailivka (15km west of Donetsk) for one and a half hours, the SMM heard 17 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire and 30 bursts of small-arms fire, all 2-3km west.

Positioned in the Trudivski area of “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city’s Petrovskyi district (15km south-west of Donetsk city centre) for over three and a half hours, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions, about 100 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun fire, and about 30 bursts and shots of small-arms fire, all 1-3km north-west.

On the evening of 3 November, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 66 undetermined explosions, at least 50 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, and about 20 shots of small-arms fire, all 3-6km at directions ranging from south-east to south-west. On the afternoon of 4 November, while in the same location, the SMM heard nine undetermined explosions 5-6km south-east and south-west. In the evening, while in the same location, the SMM heard 25 undetermined explosions 7-10km south-west. In the early evening of 5 November, while in the same location, the SMM heard about 30 undetermined explosions, as well as about 85 bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, 3-6km south-east.

On the evening of 5 November, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 40 explosions assessed as an outgoing salvo of a multiple launch rocket system (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) 6-7km south-south-west, five explosions assessed as outgoing mortar (82mm) rounds 3-4km south-west, and 30 undetermined explosions, as well as heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, 3-7km south-south-west and south-west.

On 4 November, positioned on the western edge of government-controlled Lebedynske (16km north-east of Mariupol) for almost two hours, the SMM heard 13 explosions assessed as outgoing 82mm mortar rounds and two undetermined explosions, all 3km north-east, as well as four undetermined explosions, nine shots of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) cannon (30mm), small-arms fire, and ten minutes of uncountable overlapping bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all at unknown distances north-east and east.

Positioned about 2km south of “DPR”-controlled Sakhanka (24km north-east of Mariupol) for about three and a half hours, the SMM heard 20 undetermined explosions and small-arms fire, all at unknown distances at directions ranging from west to north-north-west. The SMM also heard 40 shots of small-arms fire less than 10km east, assessed as live-fire training inside the security zone, in violation of the decision of the Trilateral Contact Group of 3 March 2016 that prohibits live-fire training in the security zone.

Positioned 2km south-west of government-controlled Pyshchevyk (25km north-east of Mariupol) for about three and a half hours, the SMM heard and saw three explosions assessed as impacts, and heard 20 undetermined explosions and small-arms fire, all at unknown distances south-south-east. The SMM also heard six undetermined explosions and small-arms fire, all at unknown distances north.

Positioned at the SMM camera site in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol), the SMM heard two explosions assessed as outgoing mortar rounds at an unknown distance north-west.

In Luhansk region between the evenings of 3 and 4 November, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including ten explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours (about 40 explosions). Between the evenings of 4 and 5 November, the Mission recorded more ceasefire violations, including over 40 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours.

On the evening of 3 November, while in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard ten undetermined explosions 10-12km west.

On the morning of 4 November, positioned in “LPR”-controlled Zhovte (17km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 20 shots of small-arms fire and six shots from an undetermined weapon, all 3km west and west-north-west.

On 5 November, positioned 2km south-east of “LPR”-controlled Kalynove (60km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 34 undetermined explosions 10-12km south-west and small-arms fire 5km south-west.

The SMM followed up on a report of a civilian casualty. On 4 November, at Hospital no. 14 in Donetsk city’s Petrovskyi district, medical staff told the Mission that a woman (aged 31) had been admitted with a gunshot wound in her left foot, and that she had told staff that she had been struck by a bullet in the yard of her house at 6 Shestakova Street in the Trudivski area of Petrovskyi district shortly before midnight on 3 November. The staff said that the woman had been discharged from the hospital on 4 November. On 5 November the woman told the Mission via telephone that she had been walking in the late evening of 3 November outside her house when an object had struck her left foot. She said that she had continued to her destination, a neighbour’s house, and upon arrival had found a bullet in her foot, which was bleeding. She said that she had then been transported by ambulance to the hospital.

The SMM observed damage to civilian residences from shelling and gunfire. On 4 November, on the south-facing side of an apartment building at 38 Dahestanska Street in Staromykhailivka, the Mission saw cracked and broken glass in five windows, minor shrapnel damage to the building’s wall, and a crater on the road about 10m south, assessed as caused by an 82mm mortar round fired from a west-north-westerly direction. Two residents told the SMM that an explosion had occurred shortly before midnight on 29 October. On the west-facing side of Hospital no. 25 on 332 Kirova Street, the SMM saw cracked glass in four windows and some minor shrapnel damage to the building’s wall; the Mission did not see any impact site. Medical staff at the hospital told the SMM that an explosion had occurred on 29 October.

On 5 November, on the north-facing side of a house in “LPR”-controlled Pryshyb (34km north-west of Luhansk), about 8m north-north-west of an “LPR” checkpoint, the SMM saw a hole (16cm in diameter) in a wall, two holes (5-6cm in diameter) in a door, and a hole in the roof, assessed as caused by rounds of an undetermined weapon fired from a northerly direction. Two residents (man and woman, aged about 70) told the Mission that gunfire had occurred shortly before midnight on 30 October.

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.*

On the late afternoon of 1 November the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded two undetermined explosions 6-8km west-north-west (assessed as outside the disengagement area). On the night of 1-2 November the camera recorded, in sequence, eight tracer rounds in flight from south to north, two tracer rounds from east to west, a tracer round from west to east, a tracer round from north to south, two tracer rounds from west to east, and three tracer rounds from north-west to south-east, all 100m to 3km south and south-west (assessed as inside the disengagement area).

On the evening of 4 November, the SMM camera in government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska recorded three explosions assessed as outgoing mortar rounds 2.3-2.5km south-south-east (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

On both 4 and 5 November, positioned in government-controlled Zolote, the SMM observed a calm situation.

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, on 4 November the SMM saw six self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) on flat-beds travelling west near Kurakhove (40km west of Donetsk).

Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in government-controlled areas, the SMM saw on 4 November two tanks (T-72) on stationary transport carriers near Volnovakha (53km south of Donetsk), and on 5 November, a tank (T-72) on a stationary flatbed truck near Mykolaivka (77km west of Luhansk).

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles (ACVs), an anti-aircraft gun,[2] military-type armoured vehicles, an unmanned aerial vehicle, and tracks of ACVs in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, on 3 November, the SMM saw a stationary armoured personnel carrier (APC) (BTR-60) near Toshkivka (60km north-west of Luhansk), a stationary amphibious transport vehicle (PTS), two stationary APCs (BTR-variant), three stationary reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM-2) and an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) mounted on a stationary truck near Nyzhnie (56km north-west of Luhansk), and two stationary IFVs (BMP-2) near Zolote. On 5 November the SMM saw three IFVs (BMP-2) and two military-type armoured vehicles (type unknown) on trailers near Novotroitske (36km south-west of Donetsk), and four stationary reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM-2) near Orikhove-Donetske (44km north-west of Luhansk).

On 4 November, positioned in a government-controlled area 2km south-west of Pyshchevyk, the SMM saw, in a field about 150m to the south-east, three men in military uniforms launch an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The vehicle flew about 20m, then landed, after which the men took the UAV and departed to the south-south-west.

On 5 November, in non-government-controlled areas, the SMM saw fresh tracks assessed as those of at least three vehicles with APC (MT-LB) chassis near Roza (36km north-east of Mariupol).

On 5 November the SMM saw, for the first time, three rows of anti-tank obstacles across the road 400m east of the entry-exit checkpoint in Pyshchevyk.

The SMM observed unexploded ordnance (UXO). On 4 November, about 3m on the north-eastern side of the M03 highway, between “DPR”-controlled Komuna (56km north-east of Donetsk) and Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM saw for the first time a piece of UXO (type unknown). On the northern edge of Novooleksandrivka (65km west of Luhansk), the SMM saw for the first time a piece of UXO, assessed as the tailfin of a rocket-propelled grenade, about 3m east of a road.

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance, co‑ordinated by the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), on 4 November to the Petrivske pumping station near government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk) and on 5 November to high-voltage lines near government-controlled Novozvanivka (70km west of Luhansk).

The SMM continued to monitor the situation of civilians walking across the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge. On 3 November, positioned near the government checkpoint north of the bridge, the SMM heard State Border Guard Service (SBGS) personnel shouting and saw them pointing rifles at a man (aged about 30) about 30m west of the road. The personnel detained the man. Less than an hour later, an SBGS officer told the SMM that the man had attempted to exit government-controlled areas without passing through the entry-exit checkpoint. He said that the man had been released.

On the same day, the SMM saw a woman (in her late sixties) lying on her back on the side of the road near the government checkpoint, in the area of the queue for people walking toward government-controlled areas. An SMM patrol member provided cardiopulmonary resuscitation, advanced life support, medication and defibrillation for almost an hour until an ambulance arrived. The ambulance crew drove the woman toward Stanytsia Luhanska. On 4 November, the deputy head doctor at the hospital in Stanytsia Luhanska told the Mission that the woman had been admitted to the hospital but subsequently transferred to a hospital in government-controlled Sievierodonetsk (74km north-west of Luhansk). The head of the intensive care unit at the hospital in Sievierodonetsk told the SMM that the woman’s condition was serious but stable.

On 5 November the SMM visited four border areas not under government control.* During one hour at a border crossing point near Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM saw 14 cars (seven with Ukrainian and four with Russian Federation licence plates, and three with “LPR” plates), one truck with a covered cargo area (with “LPR” plates), two buses (one with Ukrainian licence plates and about 60 passengers, and one with Russian Federation licence plates and about 70 passengers), and 46 pedestrians in queues to exit Ukraine, and three cars (all with Russian Federation licence plates), one bus (with Russian Federation licence plates and carrying about 70 passengers), and 23 pedestrians entering Ukraine.

During 30 minutes at a border crossing point near Sievernyi (50km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM saw four pedestrians (two men, two women) exiting Ukraine and five pedestrians (two men, three women) entering Ukraine.

During 30 minutes at a border crossing point near Novoborovytsi (79km south of Luhansk), the SMM saw two pedestrians (one man, one woman) entering Ukraine.

During 50 minutes at a border crossing point near Novoazovsk (102km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM saw six cars (two with Ukrainian licence plates and four with “DPR” plates) and two trucks with covered cargo areas (one with Russian Federation licence plates and one with “DPR” plates) exit Ukraine and 15 cars (six with Ukrainian and two with Russian Federation licence plates, and seven with “DPR” plates) and one minibus (with “DPR” plates) enter Ukraine.

On 3 November, at the same border crossing point, the SMM saw a billboard reading “Defend Donbas” and “Contract military service”, with an instruction to apply at an address in Novoazovsk, and with two telephone numbers listed.

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, 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:

Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:

  • On both 4 and 5 November, 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 both times.
  • On both 4 and 5 November, 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 both times.
  • On both 4 and 5 November, 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 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 both times.
  • On both 4 and 5 November, 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 both times.

Other impediments:

  • On 5 November, while patrolling in areas near Pyshchevyk and “DPR”-controlled Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, 29km north-east of Mariupol) and between Verkhnoshyrokivske and “DPR”-controlled Roza, the SMM experienced technical difficulties with its VHF radio system, assessed as possibly due to jamming.

 

[1]Please see the annexed report 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. During this reporting period the SMM camera at the Oktiabr mine (Donetsk) remained non-operational. Nine SMM cameras are in a testing phase, to last until 30 November 2017.

[2] This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.