Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 6 November 2017

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations both in Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous 24 hours. The Mission confirmed five civilian casualties from Donetsk city, including one fatality. It observed multiple impact sites near civilian residences in the Kyivskyi district of Donetsk city, assessed as caused by artillery rounds, and to essential infrastructure at the Donetsk Filtration Station and a water reservoir near Yasynuvata, including damage assessed as caused by a rocket from a multiple launch rocket system. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas, its access remained restricted there and elsewhere, including at a heavy weapons holding area and in Vasylivka.* The Mission saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near Oleksandropil, Khriashchuvate and Novoamvrosiivske. It facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance to high-voltage lines near Novozvanivka, and a water pipeline near Zolote and Popasna.

In Donetsk region between the evenings of 3 and 4 November the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations,[1] including, however, fewer explosions (about 150), compared with the previous 24 hours (about 220 explosions).

On the evening of 5 November, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard five undetermined explosions and 55 bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 4-6km south-east. During the day on 6 November, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 5-7km north-west, 16 undetermined explosions 6-7km north-east, and 13 undetermined explosions and nine bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 4-7km south-east.

On the evening of 5 November, while in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard four undetermined explosions 7-10km north-west. During the day on 6 November, positioned about 2km north-west of Debaltseve for about one hour, the SMM heard and saw 25 explosions assessed as impacts 10-14km at north-westerly directions.

On the evening of 5 November, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard ten undetermined explosions 3-7km south-west.

On the evening and night of 5-6 November, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, four projectiles in flight from east to west, an undetermined explosion, 21 projectiles from north-east to south-west, an undetermined explosion, 44 projectiles from east to west, seven undetermined explosions, 18 projectiles from east to west, four undetermined explosions, a projectile (trajectory undetermined), five projectiles from west to east and 21 projectiles from east to west, all at unknown distances south. During the day on 6 November, the same camera recorded 44 projectiles in flight from east to west 0.5-1.5km south.

On the evening and night of 5-6 November, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, six projectiles in flight from north-west to south-east and 17 projectiles from south-west to north-east, all at unknown distances east-south-east. On the morning of 6 November, positioned on the southern edge of Avdiivka for over two hours, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 3-5km south-east and bursts and shots of small-arms fire 1-3km east. On the same day, positioned on the south-western edge of Avdiivka for over three hours, the SMM heard 26 undetermined explosions 2-5km east and east-south-east.

On the evening and night of 5-6 November, while in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre, for about four hours, the SMM heard five undetermined explosions 8-10km north-west.

During the day on 6 November, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city’s Kyivskyi district (5km north of Donetsk city centre) for an hour, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 2-3km north-west.

Positioned 2.5km south-east of government-controlled Lomakyne (15km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard an undetermined explosion at an unknown distance north-north-east, and seven undetermined explosions, an explosion assessed as an impact and ten outgoing explosions, all at unknown distances east-north-east.

Positioned 1km north-north-west of government-controlled Pyshchevyk (25km north-east of Mariupol) for about three and a half hours, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions at unknown distances north-east, two undetermined explosions at unknown distances south-south-east and small-arms fire at unknown distances east-south-east.

Positioned in Stupakove (formerly Krasnyi Pakhar, 49km north-east of Donetsk), for about 45 minutes, the SMM heard eight undetermined explosions 3-4km south.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 200 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours (about 40 explosions).

On the evening of 5 November, while in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard, in about 40 minutes, 162 explosions assessed as artillery or mortar fire (unknown calibre) (81 were assessed as impacts and 81 as outgoing), 95 bursts of infantry-fighting-vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) fire, all 10-18km west and west-north-west, and saw three illumination flares in vertical flight 1-2km west.

On the evening and night of 5-6 November, while on the northern edge of government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 5km south-east, 12 explosions assessed as mortar rounds (eight assessed as impacts and four assessed as outgoing) and about 100 shots and bursts of small-arms, heavy-machine-gun, automatic grenade-launcher and IFV (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) fire, all 3-5km south-west. During the day on 6 November, while in the same position, the SMM heard 13 undetermined explosions and at least 70 shots and bursts of small-arms, automatic grenade-launcher and IFV (BMP-2) cannon fire 4-6km south-east.

On the morning of 6 November, positioned in “LPR”-controlled Kalynove (60km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard ten undetermined explosions and five bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 5-7km south-south-west. On the same day, positioned 3.5km east of Kalynove, the SMM heard 11 shots of automatic-grenade-launcher fire 5-7km west.

The SMM followed up on reports of civilian casualties – four injured and one killed – in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city. Staff at the Kalinina morgue in Donetsk city told the SMM that on 5 November, they had received the body of a nine-year-old boy who had died from shrapnel injuries to his head and neck.

At the Donetsk Trauma Hospital, medical staff told the SMM that two boys (aged nine and ten) had been admitted to the hospital on 5 November with shrapnel injuries. They said that the two boys had been together with the abovementioned fatality, when a piece of unexploded ordnance (UXO) exploded – killing one, and injuring the others. They told the SMM that one of the boys had injuries to his right elbow, while the other had sustained extensive damage to his hip and remained in critical condition after having undergone surgery. Medical staff from the children’s department told the SMM that one of the boys was still suffering from shock after having seen his friend killed in front of him. According to a Russian Federation Armed Forces officer of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) and media reports, the three boys had found a piece of UXO in the playground of school no. 110 in Donetsk city’s Petrovskyi district.

At the same hospital, the SMM spoke with a 65-year-old man who had bandages over his left eye. He told the SMM that on 5 November at around 18:15, he had been in his kitchen at 84 Partyzanskyi Avenue in Kyivskyi district of Donetsk city (5km north-west of the city centre) when he had heard two explosions in rapid succession and had been thrown to the floor by the blast of the second one. He said he had subsequently noticed that his head was bleeding and had called an ambulance.

A fourth casualty at the hospital, a 35-year-old man, who had bandages on his right arm, told the SMM that at 21:20 on 5 November, he had been at 12 Kedrina Street in the Kyivskyi district of Donetsk city when he had heard several explosions and was subsequently struck on his right arm by shattered glass.

The SMM observed damage in residential areas and to essential infrastructure from shelling. At the Verkhnokalmiuska reservoir, about 2km south of Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), accompanied by Russian Federation Armed Forces officers of the JCCC, the SMM saw a fresh crater in a concrete slab on the bank of the reservoir, assessed as caused by a rocket from a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) fired from a north-westerly direction. About 150m south-west of the first impact, the Mission saw four fresh craters on soft ground; however, the Mission could not assess the type of weapon used or the direction of fire. Workers from the Voda Donbassa water company told the SMM that the impacts had occurred at 18:40 on 5 November.

The SMM observed four impact sites at Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk), accompanied by Russian Federation Armed Forces officers of the JCCC. The SMM saw a hole (60cm in diameter) in an 7-8cm thick outer layer of an aboveground pipeline (which the head of the facility said was used to transport chlorine) and, 10m south of the pipeline, next to an asphalt road, the SMM saw two small fresh craters, 15m apart. About 30m north of the pipeline, the SMM also saw an impact to the bottom of the south-facing wall of a building, three broken windows and glass on the floor. The Mission assessed that all impacts were caused by an automatic or under-barrel grenade launcher round; however the SMM could not assess the direction of fire. While at the site, the head of the facility showed the SMM a building where he said that chlorine was stored, located about 70-80m west of the impacts. He told the SMM that all damage had occurred early in the morning between 3 and 5 November.

On 6 June, accompanied by Russian Federation Armed Forces officers of the JCCC, the Mission observed impact sites in the Kyivskyi district of Donetsk city. The Mission assessed that all damage had been caused by artillery rounds of at least 122mm fired from a westerly direction.                

At 5b Kyivskyi Ave, a nine-storey apartment building, the SMM saw a hole (3.3×1.7m) in the building’s concrete roof plate, as well as debris from the roof on the ground in front of the north-facing side of the building. The SMM spoke with a woman (in her forties) who said that she had been in the building at the time it was hit. She told the SMM that she began to hear explosions nearby at around 17:00 on 5 November and that the building had been hit between 19:00 and 20:00; however nobody had been injured. The SMM saw several workers on the roof of the building repairing the power supply.

Between 63 and 63a Kyivskyi Ave, the SMM saw a fresh crater on the asphalt road, as well as workers repairing power and gas lines, and removing a large tree, which the SMM assessed to have been freshly hit. At 63 Kyivskyi Ave, the SMM saw at least 14 broken north-facing windows, as well as a damaged balcony. At 63b Kyivskyi Ave, the SMM saw broken west-facing windows and shattered glass on the floor of a room in a west-facing apartment belonging to a woman (in her late sixties). She told the SMM that she had been watching television when three loud explosions had occurred on 5 November, following which all residents had assembled outside to take shelter behind the wall of another building. At another apartment in 63b Kyivskyi Ave, a man (in his fifties) told the SMM that he had heard three loud explosions between 17:30 and 17:40 on 5 November, and that nobody had been injured.

At the Donetsk Technical School at 78 Aristova Street, the SMM observed scarring to the south-facing façades and staircase, and shattered south-facing windows. At a college at 7 Aristova Street, the SMM observed a hole (1.2×0.8m) in the west-facing wall of the gym. All west-facing windows of the building had been broken and the SMM saw shattered glass in the hallway inside the building. At 3 Aristova Street, the student dormitory had shattered north-facing windows. The SMM spoke with a college co-ordinator (a woman in her forties) who said the impacts had occurred on 5 November between 17:45 and 18:00 and that nobody had been injured. She told the SMM that 70 students had been evacuated from the dormitory when the explosions began and that only security staff had been at the college, where 300 students are enrolled, at the time of the impacts.

At 71 Kyivskyi Avenue, the SMM saw significant damage to a building’s brickwork, three of its north-facing balconies, as well as four broken north-facing windows and, 2m north of the building, a fresh crater. At 84 Partyzanskyi Avenue, 30m further north, the SMM saw multiple lacerations to its south-facing wall and at least 15 broken and cracked south-facing windows. A local resident (65-year-old man) told the SMM that the impact had occurred on 5 November between 18:00 and 18:05 and that he had sustained an injury to his eye as a result of the impact (see section on civilian casualties, above).

At a bus stop on 52 Kyivskyi Avenue, the SMM observed a fresh crater in the pavement and significant structural damage to the west-facing side of bus stop, where its roof and support pillars had been lacerated in multiple places, as well as damage to the west-facing façade of a non-operational shopping centre 5m east of the crater. A woman (in her sixties) told the SMM that the explosion had occurred after 17:00 on 5 November.

The SMM observed a fresh crater in the asphalt street between two houses at 5a and 7 Namotkina Street. The garden wall of 5a Namotkina had been punctured and scorched in multiple places, likely by shrapnel, and there were several holes in the house’s west-facing façade, as well as multiple broken west-facing windows. The owner of 5a Namotkina Street told the SMM that that the explosion had occurred at 17:45.

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.*

Positioned in and around the disengagement areas near government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska and Zolote, the SMM observed calm situations.

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 5 November an SMM mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted eight self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) near Oleksandropil (43km north of Donetsk). In areas outside of government control, on 6 November, the SMM saw a tank (T-72) on a flatbed truck travelling north near Khriashchuvate (10km south-east of Luhansk) and four stationary MLRS (BM-21) near Novoamvrosiivske (56km east of Donetsk).

Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in government-controlled areas: imagery revealed, on 28 October, 16 self-propelled howitzers (13 2S1 and three 2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) and, on 1 November, a stationary tank (T-64) next to a train and two surface-to-air missile systems (9K35 Strela-10) loaded on a train near Zachativka (74km south-west of Donetsk); on 5 November, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted ten towed howitzers (nine D-20, 152mm and a D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm) in Novoolenivka (48km north-west of Donetsk); on 6 November, the SMM saw ten tanks (T-64) on flat-bed trucks travelling north near Novoolenivka, a stationary tank (T-64) near Bilokrynychne (formerly Kalinine, 79km south-east of Donetsk), and three tanks (T-64), two were stationary and one was on a flat-bed truck travelling north-east near 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 beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed 12 self-propelled howitzers (2S19 Msta-S, 152mm) and 12 towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) and noted that 72 towed howitzers (44 2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm and 28 D-20), 18 self-propelled howitzers (2S3) and 12 anti-tank guns (D48, 85mm) were again missing. In an area outside government control beyond the respective withdrawal lines in Donetsk region, the SMM observed two towed howitzers (D-30).

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and an anti-aircraft gun[2] in the security zone. In a government-controlled area, on 4 November, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted seven IFVs (two BMP-1 and five BMP-2) as well as an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) mounted on a truck near Luhanske (59km north-east of Donetsk). In an area outside of government control, on 4 November, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted a revetted IFV (BMP-1) near Dolomitne (53km north-east of Donetsk).

On 4 November, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted about 80 probable mines (type undetermined) laid across and along the shoulders of a 2km stretch road M03, as well as in the surrounding fields between government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) and non-government-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk). The SMM has previously observed mines in this area (See SMM Daily Report of 30 October 2017).

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance, co‑ordinated by the JCCC, to high-voltage lines near government-controlled Novozvanivka (70km west of Luhansk) and the water pipeline between Zolote and government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk).

The SMM saw a train with seven wagons transporting coal traveling west near “LPR”-controlled Samsonivka (31km south-east of Luhansk).

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:

  • While preparing to conduct a mid-range UAV flight near “DPR”-controlled Vasylivka (20km north of Donetsk), armed persons approached the SMM and said that all flights were prohibited until permission was granted by their superiors. The SMM left the area and informed the JCCC.

  • At a heavy weapons holding area, an armed “DPR” member prevented the SMM from accessing part of a compound, citing orders from his superiors. The SMM informed the JCCC.

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 both times.

  • < >he 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.< >he 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.< >he 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.< >

    [1] 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. 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.

    * 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”.

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