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Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 17 December 2017

This report is for the media and the general public

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions between the evenings of 15 and 16 December compared with the previous reporting period. The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and fewer in Luhansk region between the evenings of 16 and 17 December compared with the previous 24 hours. The Mission assessed impact sites near residential areas on the eastern outskirts of Popasna caused by shelling. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded ceasefire violations near all three. Its access remained restricted in the disengagement areas and elsewhere, including in Trokhizbenka.* The Mission continued to observe long queues at the entry-exit checkpoint near Stanytsia Luhanska. The SMM facilitated and monitored repairs of essential infrastructure near Travneve, Dovhe, and in Raivka. The Mission visited five border areas outside of government control. In Kyiv, it monitored a march and a gathering in the city centre, and the aftermath of reported incidents and clashes between the crowd and police.

In Donetsk region, between the evenings of 15 and 16 December, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations,[1] including about 560 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 430 explosions). Between the evenings of 16 and 17 December, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including a similar number of explosions (about 570), compared with the previous 24 hours.

On the evening and night of 15-16 December, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, two undetermined explosions, four projectiles in flight from east to west, an undetermined explosion, an illumination flare in vertical flight, three projectiles from west to east and an undetermined explosion, followed by a total of nine undetermined explosions and 58 projectiles (37 from east to west, 17 from west to east and four from south-east to north-west), all 0.5-1km south. During the day on 16 December, the camera recorded, in sequence, 13 projectiles in flight from west to east, two projectiles from east to west and an undetermined explosion, followed by a total of 12 undetermined explosions, about 190 projectiles (130 from west to east, 57 from east to west and one from north-east to south-west) and three illumination flares in vertical flight, all 0.5-1km south.

On the evening and night of 16-17 December, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station recorded, in sequence, nine projectiles in flight from west to east, two projectiles from east to west and three undetermined explosions, followed by a total of 32 undetermined explosions, 276 projectiles (171 from west to east, 97 from east to west, seven from south-east to north-west and one from north to south) and an illumination flare in vertical flight, all 0.5-1km south. During the day on 17 December, the camera recorded, in sequence, an undetermined explosion, three projectiles from west to east, an undetermined explosion and five projectiles from east to west, followed by a total of five undetermined explosions and 35 projectiles (20 from west to east and 15 from east to west), all 0.5-1km south.

During the day on 16 December, the SMM camera 1km south-west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, in sequence, a projectile in flight from west to east, 58 projectiles from east to west, a projectile from west to east, 32 projectiles from east to west, three projectiles from west to east and two projectiles from east to west, all 5-8km north. On the evening and night of 16-17 December, the camera recorded, in sequence, four projectiles from east to west, two undetermined explosions, ten tracer rounds in flight and 21 projectiles from east to west, a projectile from west to east and 15 projectiles from east to west, all 5-8km north.

During the day on 17 December, the SMM camera 1km south-west of Shyrokyne recorded, in sequence, six projectiles in flight from east to west, an undetermined explosion, nine projectiles and two tracer rounds in flight from east to west and an undetermined explosion, followed by a total of 81 projectiles (80 from east to west and one from west to east), all 5-8km north.

During the day on 16 December, positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about four hours, the SMM heard 34 undetermined explosions, about 70 bursts and shots of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire and about 20 minutes of uncountable overlapping shots of small-arms fire, all 2-5km at westerly directions, as well as about 90 bursts and shots of small-arms fire 2-5km at directions ranging from west to east-north-east. On the same day, the SMM also heard about 160 bursts and shots of small-arms fire 2-5km east-south-east and south-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 the conduct of live-fire training (exercises) in the security zone.

During the day on 17 December, positioned at the railway station in Yasynuvata, the SMM heard 37 explosions (one assessed as an impact and the remainder undetermined) and about 310 bursts and shots of automatic-grenade-launcher, heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 1-8km at directions ranging from south-west to north-west.

During the day on 16 December, positioned on the south-western edge of government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) for about six hours, the SMM heard 14 undetermined explosions and a minute of uncountable overlapping shots of small-arms fire, all 2-4km east, east-south-east and south-south-east.

During the day on 16 December, positioned about 2km south-east of DPR”-controlled Sakhanka (24km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM about heard 55 explosions assessed as under-barrel grenade-launcher rounds at unknown distances west-south-west, as well as about 70 bursts and shots of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire 1-3km south-west and west-south-west.

During the day on 16 December, positioned 1km north-west of the entry-exit checkpoint in government-controlled Pyshchevyk (25km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard 54 undetermined explosions at unknown distances east, as well as heard and saw six explosions assessed as impacts (three of which were artillery rounds) 1-5km south-east and south-south-east.

During the day on 16 December, positioned on the south-western edge of government-controlled Lebedynske (16km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard 75 explosions (40 assessed as impacts of artillery rounds and 35 assessed as outgoing) and about 150 bursts of anti-aircraft cannon (ZU-23, 23mm) and heavy-machine-gun fire, all at unknown distances south-south-east.

On the evening of 16 December, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 45 undetermined explosions 5-8km north-west and 12 undetermined explosions 3-8km west.

On the evening and night of 15-16 December, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 48 explosions assessed as impacts of artillery rounds and 20 explosions assessed as outgoing infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-1) cannon (73mm) rounds 6-8km south-east, as well as about 200 bursts and shots of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire 5-9km at southerly directions. During the day on 16 December, while at the same location, the SMM heard 33 explosions assessed as outgoing tank rounds and ten as outgoing IFV (BMP-1) rounds, all 6-8km south-east, as well as 28 explosions assessed as impacts of artillery and mortar rounds, four undetermined explosions and about 220 bursts and shots of IFV (BMP-2) cannon (30mm), heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 5-8km at southerly directions.

On the evening of 16 December, while in Svitlodarsk, the SMM heard five explosions assessed as impacts of artillery rounds and about 140 bursts and shots of IFV (BMP-2) cannon, heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 5-9km south-east. During the day on 17 December, while at the same location, the SMM heard 240 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds 2-5km north and north-east and their subsequent impacts 5-8km south-east and south-south-east, as well as about 180 explosions (68 assessed as outgoing tank and artillery rounds, 39 as outgoing IFV (BMP-1) cannon rounds, 37 as impacts of artillery rounds, 20 as mortar rounds and the remainder undetermined) and at least 1000 bursts of IFV (BMP-2) cannon, heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 4-8km south-east and south-south-east.

During the day on 16 December, positioned on the northern edge of “DPR”-controlled Holmivskyi (49km north-east of Donetsk) for about five and a half hours, the SMM heard three undetermined explosions 6-7km north-east, two undetermined explosions 6-7km north-west, three undetermined explosions 6-7km east and ten undetermined explosions 6-7km west.

During the day on 16 December, positioned in government-controlled Novoluhanske (53km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 15 undetermined explosions and heavy-machine-gun fire 2-3km west.

During the day on 17 December, while in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk) for about five hours, the SMM heard about 20 minutes of uncountable overlapping undetermined explosions followed by ten undetermined explosions 2-5km west-north-west and north-west.

In Luhansk region, between the evenings of 15 and 16 December, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 330 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (80 explosions). Between the evenings of 16 and 17 December, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including fewer explosions (about 240), compared with the previous 24 hours.

On the evening of 15 December, while in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), in about two hours, the SMM heard about 240 undetermined explosions 12-18km west-south-west and west.

On the evening and night of 15-16 December, while on the northern edge of government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard eight explosions assessed as outgoing IFV (BMP-1) cannon rounds and heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 3-4km south-west. On the evening and night of 16-17 December, while at the same location, the SMM heard 22 explosions assessed as outgoing IFV (BMP-1) cannon rounds, and 213 undetermined explosions and small-arms fire, all 3-4km south-east and south.

During the day on 17 December, positioned in government-controlled Muratove (51km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM heard an undetermined explosion and about 120 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 1-5km east and south-east and assessed as live-fire training inside the security zone, in violation of the decision of the Trilateral Contact Group as of 3 March 2016 that prohibits the conduct of live-fire training (exercises) in the security zone.

On 16 December, the SMM assessed impact sites near Popasna caused by shelling. At a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint about 3km north-east of Popasna, the SMM saw two fresh craters surrounded by shattered large bushes and small trees; the first was about 750m west of the checkpoint, next to a communications tower, and the second was 20-25m further south. Both were assessed as having been caused by mortar (120mm) or artillery rounds fired from a south-easterly direction. The SMM noted that the nearest residential house was about 1km south-west of the two craters.

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 night of 13-14 December, the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded a projectile in flight from east to west at an unknown distance south (unable to assess whether inside or outside the disengagement area). During the day on 14 December, the camera recorded 21 projectiles (15 from west to east, four from north-south and two from east to west), all at unknown distances south (unable to assess whether inside or outside the disengagement area). On the evening of 14 December, the camera recorded two undetermined explosions and 19 projectiles (ten from west to east, four from east to west, three from south to north, one from south-east to north-west and one in vertical flight), all at unknown distances at southerly directions (unable to assess whether inside or outside the disengagement area).

During the day on 17 December, positioned in Petrivske, the SMM heard 19 shots and bursts of small-arms fire 2-4km south-east (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

On the evening of 15 December, while on the eastern edge of government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska, the SMM heard 68 explosions (11 assessed as impacts of automatic-grenade-launcher rounds and the remainder undetermined) and about 200 shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 4-6km south-west (all assessed as outside the disengagement area), as well as 17 explosions assessed as impacts of automatic-grenade-launcher rounds 3-5km south-east (assessed as outside the disengagement area). On the evening of 16 December, while at the same location, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 3-4km south-west (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

On the evening of 16 December, SMM camera in Stanytsia Luhanska recorded an explosion assessed as an impact 2.3km south-south-east (assessed as outside the disengagement area).  The same explosion was recorded 160m east-north-east by another SMM camera near the Prince Ihor monument south-east of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (15km north-east of Luhansk).

During the day on 17 December, positioned in government-controlled Zolote-4 (60km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard an explosion assessed as an impact of an artillery round 4km south-south-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.

Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in government-controlled areas, on 16 December, the SMM observed a surface-to-air missile system (9K33 Osa) 10km south-east of Novoaidar (49km north-west of Luhansk), two tanks (type-unknown) near Krasne (65km north of Donetsk) and, on 13 December, an SMM mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle spotted 13 tanks (T-72) near Oleksandro-Kalynove (47km north of Donetsk).

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and an anti-aircraft gun[2] in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, on 16 December, the SMM saw eight IFVs (BMP-1) and two reconnaissance vehicles (a BRDM-2 and a BRM-1K) near Popasna and two armoured personnel carriers (APC) (BTR-60) near Orikhove-Donetske (44km north-west of Luhansk). On 17 December, the SMM saw nine IFVs (BMP-1) and three reconnaissance vehicles (a BRDM-2 and two BRM-1K) near Popasna, a reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) near Muratove and an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) mounted on a military-type truck (Kraz) near Vershyna (63km north-east of Donetsk).

In an area outside of government control, on 17 December, the SMM saw an APC (BTR-variant) near Petrivske.

The SMM observed unexploded ordnance(UXO). On 16 December, in Stanytsia Luhanska, the SMM saw, for the first time, an unexploded grenade (RPG-7) embedded in soft ground in front of a house at 80 Svobody Street. The SMM assessed that the grenade had been fired from an easterly direction. A female resident of the house (aged in her fifties) said that it had landed there between 19:00 and 19:30 on 15 December. Later that day, the SMM saw that the grenade had been removed.

The SMM continued to observe long queues at the entry-exit checkpoint near Stanytsia Luhanska. At the government checkpoint north of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, at 13:15 on 16 December, the SMM saw about 250 pedestrians queuing to travel further into government-controlled areas and about 500 pedestrians queuing to travel in the opposite direction. About two hours later, at the same checkpoint, the SMM saw no pedestrians queuing to travel further into government-controlled areas and about 500 pedestrians queuing to travel in the opposite direction. On 17 December, at 09:05, the SMM saw about 500 pedestrians queueing to travel further into government-controlled areas and about 500 people in the opposite direction. About six hours later, the SMM observed a similar number of people queueing in both directions. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) told the SMM that about 560 people on 15 December and about 250 people on 16 December, queuing to travel from government-controlled areas toward non-government-controlled areas, had not been able to pass through the checkpoint before it closed at 16:30.

At an “LPR” checkpoint south of the bridge, at 09:40 on 16 December, the SMM saw about 2,000 pedestrians queuing to travel toward government-controlled areas and about 300 queuing in the opposite direction. On 17 December, between 08:40 and 12:00, the SMM saw about 2,500 pedestrians queueing to travel toward government-controlled areas and about 2,000 pedestrians queuing in the opposite direction.

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance works, co‑ordinated by the JCCC, on 16 December, to power lines near Travneve (51km north-east of Donetsk) (a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC informed the SMM that repairs were interrupted due to shelling, see ceasefire violations section above), to power lines near “LPR”-controlled Dovhe (22km south-west of Luhansk) and to the power substation in “LPR”-controlled Raivka (16km north-west of Luhansk). 

The SMM visited five border areas outside of government control. On 16 December, at a border crossing near Marynivka (78km south-east of Donetsk), during about 25 minutes, the SMM saw 21 cars (seven with “DPR” plates) exiting Ukraine and four cars entering Ukraine.

At a border crossing point near Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk), during about an hour, the SMM saw 21 cars (seven with “DPR” plates), two minivans (one with “DPR” plates), 11 covered cargo trucks (one with “DPR” plates), a fuel tanker (with “DPR” plates), a bus and four pedestrians exiting Ukraine, and 13 cars (six with “DPR” plates), four minivans (one with “DPR” plates), four covered cargo trucks, two buses and 16 pedestrians entering Ukraine.

At the border crossing point near Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk), during about an hour, the SMM saw 44 cars (eight with “LPR” plates), three covered cargo trucks (one with “LPR” plates), a bus and 40 pedestrians (30 women and ten men, aged 15-80) exiting Ukraine, and 31 cars, a bus and 12 pedestrians (seven women and five men, aged 20-50) entering Ukraine.

At a pedestrian border crossing point near Verkhnoharasymivka (57km south-east of Luhansk), during about 20 minutes, the SMM saw five pedestrians (three women and two men, aged 40-60) exiting Ukraine and one pedestrian (a man in his forties) entering Ukraine.

At a pedestrian border crossing point near Novoborovytsi (79km south of Luhansk), during about half an hour, the SMM saw two pedestrians (three men and a woman, aged 40-60) exiting Ukraine.

In Kyiv, the SMM monitored gatherings in the city centre. On 17 December, between 12:30 and 14:15, the SMM saw about 10,000 people (60 per cent men and 40 per cent women, mixed ages) marching from Shevchenko Park to Independence Square. Some of the participants were carrying flags of political parties and movements and chanting slogans critical of the Government. The Mission saw and heard several speakers, including Mikheil Saakashvili and members of the Parliament, address the crowd. The SMM observed about 500 police and National Guard officers, about 100 of whom were wearing riot gear. (See SMM Daily Report 11 December 2017.) No incidents were observed while the SMM was present.

After the march, the SMM saw about 1000 people (both men and women, mixed ages) gathered in front of Zhovtnevyi Palace, carrying flags of political parties and movements. The SMM saw that the Palace had been sealed off by about 50 police and National Guard officers. No incidents were observed while the SMM was present until 15:15. At 18:00, the SMM returned to the Palace and noted that the crowd had dispersed, reportedly following incidents and clashes with police. The SMM saw remains of flares on the ground and that the windows of the entrance door had been broken. The SMM saw about 30 police officers securing the area.

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, 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:

  • On 17 December, at a checkpoint on the southern outskirts of government-controlled Trokhizbenka (32km north-west of Luhansk), an armed Ukrainian Armed Forces soldier prevented the SMM from proceeding towards Trokhizbenka, citing orders from his superiors.

Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:

  • On 16 and 17 December, 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 on both occasions.
  • On 16 and 17 December, 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 on both occasions.
  • On 16 and 17 December, 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 on both occasions.
  • On 16 and 17 December, 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 on both occasions.

[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. Four SMM cameras continue to be tested until the end of December 2017.

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

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 15 December 2017

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.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations,[1] including about 430 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 330 explosions).

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,[2] 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.

[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. 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.”

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

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 14 December 2017

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 assessed impact sites in residential areas in Dokuchaievsk, Luhanske and Horlivka. In Kalynove-Borshchuvate, the SMM observed damage to a power line caused by shelling. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske and recorded ceasefire violations inside the Petrivske disengagement area. Its access remained restricted in the disengagement areas and elsewhere.* The Ukrainian Armed Forces representative to the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) shared with the SMM a letter from the Russian Federation informing Ukraine about the Russian Federation’s intention to withdraw its Armed Forces officers from the JCCC. The SMM saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near Oleksandropil. The Mission followed up on the situation of civilians living in Travneve and Hladosove; it heard that electricity was supplied to Travneve and Hladosove and that the regular bus service between Travneve and Novoluhanske had resumed. The SMM facilitated and monitored repairs to a power line in Avdiivka and observed the completion of the repairs. It also facilitated and monitored repairs of essential infrastructure near Zalizne, Artema and Vesela Hora. The SMM visited a border area outside of government control.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations,[1] including about 330 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 520 explosions).

On the evening and night of 13-14 December, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, an undetermined explosion, six projectiles in flight from east to west and two projectiles from west to east, followed by a total of 24 undetermined explosions and five projectiles (three from west to east and two from east to west), all 0.5-1.5km south. In the early evening of 14 December, the same camera recorded, in sequence, seven projectiles in flight from east to west and four projectiles from west to east, followed by a total of two undetermined explosions, an illumination flare in flight from east to west and ten projectiles (seven from east to west and three from west to east), all 0.5-1.5km south.

During the day on 14 December, positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about six and a half hours, the SMM heard about 50 undetermined explosions and about 100 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 1-4km south-west and west.

Positioned on the south-western edge of government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard five undetermined explosions and small-arms fire, all 2-5km at directions ranging from east to south.

Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Holmivskyi (49km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard three undetermined explosions 2-3km north-north-east, two undetermined explosions 2-3km north-west, and five undetermined explosions 3-6km north-west – all assessed as having occurred near government-controlled Travneve and Hladosove (both 51km north-east of Donetsk), areas around which the SMM had previously observed military presence. (See SMM Daily Report 7 December 2017.)

Positioned in government-controlled Novoluhanske (53km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard an explosion assessed as an outgoing artillery (122mm) round 5km north-west and its subsequent impact 3km south-west, as well as 13 undetermined explosions and ten minutes of uncountable overlapping bursts and shots of small-arms fire, all 3-8km at directions ranging from south-east to south-west.

On the evening and night of 13-14 December, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard over 100 undetermined explosions and about 210 bursts of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) and heavy-machine-gun fire, all 4-8km at directions ranging from east to south. During the day on 14 December, while at the same location, the SMM heard almost 100 explosions (six assessed as outgoing artillery rounds and the remainder undetermined) and about 80 bursts of IFV (BMP-2) cannon and heavy-machine-gun fire, all 4-7km at directions ranging from east to south.

On the evening of 13 December, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard six undetermined explosions 6-10km south-west, and small-arms fire 3-5km south-west.

On the evening and night of 13-14 December, the SMM camera 1km south-west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, in sequence, five projectiles in flight from east to west, an undetermined explosion, six projectiles from east to west and a projectile from west to east, followed by a total of 11 undetermined explosions and 162 projectiles (119 from east to west and 43 from west to east), all 5-8km north. On 14 December, the same camera recorded, in sequence, 11 projectiles in flight from east to west, two undetermined explosions and two projectiles from west to east, followed by a total of 24 projectiles (14 from west to east and ten from east to west), all 5-8km north.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including 28 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (almost 1,100 explosions).

During the day on 14 December, positioned on the southern edge of government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard five explosions assessed as artillery rounds 6-8km south-east.

Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Kalynove (60km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 12 undetermined explosions 4-6km west-north-west, five explosions assessed as outgoing rounds 2-4km west, and ten shots of small-arms fire 2km west.

While in the city centre of “LPR”-controlled Luhansk, the SMM heard three bursts of small-arms fire 1km south-east, assessed as live-fire training inside the security zone, in violation of the decision of the Trilateral Contact Group of 3 March 2016 prohibiting the conduct of live-fire training (exercises) in the security zone.

On 13 December, the SMM assessed impact sites in residential areas in “DPR”-controlled Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk), government-controlled Luhanske (59km north-east of Donetsk) and Horlivka.

In Dokuchaievsk, at 8 Furmanova Street, the SMM saw two broken south-west-facing windows of a single-storey house (both of which were covered with plastic sheeting), a south-west-facing wall with shrapnel damage, and a distorted satellite dish with fresh holes in it. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by shrapnel from a round of an undetermined weapon (with calibre no greater than 30mm) fired from a direction between south and west. A male neighbour in his sixties told the SMM that firing had occurred between 11:00 and 12:00 on 12 December. The SMM had previously heard that a 62-year-old man had sustained shrapnel wounds on 12 December while in the yard of 8 Furmanova Street. (See SMM Daily Report 13 December 2017.)

At 4A Frunze Street, the SMM saw shrapnel damage to the south-east facing wall of a house. The Mission also observed a fresh crater in the asphalt 2m south-east of the house, and dents in the entrance gates to the yard of a house about 3m south-west of the crater (assessed as caused by the same weapon round that had caused the crater). About 15m north-north-west of the crater outside the yard, the SMM saw damage to the north-west side of a tree trunk. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by rounds of an undetermined weapon (with calibre 30mm) fired from a south-south-westerly direction. A male resident (in his fifties) told the SMM that he had not been home at the time of shelling but his neighbour had informed him that it had started at around 11:00 on 12 December. He added that when he came home at around 13:00, he saw the damage.

At 6A Frunze Street, the SMM saw a tree, located 3m west of a two-storey house, severed a 2.5m from the ground, assessed as caused by a projectile. The SMM was unable to determine the direction of fire. A male resident (in his sixties) of the house told the SMM that he had been at home when he had heard an explosion at 10:45 on the morning of 12 December.

At 8 Frunze Street, the SMM saw a fresh hole in the plastic panels on the south-west facing side of a two-storey house and other debris, including parts of the plastic panels, scattered in front of the house. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by a round of an undetermined weapon (with calibre no greater than 73mm) fired from a direction between south and west. The resident of the house at 6A Frunze Street told the SMM that the damage had occurred at 10:45 on 12 December.

In Luhanske, at 10 Khliborobiv Street, the SMM saw shrapnel damage to the south-east-facing side of a house and a destroyed wooden shed in the backyard of the house. About 20m south-west of the house, the SMM observed a fresh crater, assessed as caused by a round fired from an IFV (BMP-1) cannon or a recoilless gun (SPG-9, 73mm). A man in his forties living across the street told the SMM that his mother (in her seventies) lived in the house and that shelling had occurred at around 22:00 on 11 December.

In Horlivka, on “60 Rokiv SRSR” Street, the SMM saw broken south-west-facing windows on the sixth floor of the nine-storey apartment building no. 51, as well as shrapnel damage to its south-west-facing side. The SMM was unable to determine the direction of fire or the type of weapon used.

On 13 December, the SMM assessed damage to a power line caused by shelling in “LPR”-controlled Kalynove-Borshchuvate (61km west of Luhansk). The SMM observed that one of the high-voltage power lines had been cut and that cables were hanging down from pylons. The SMM also saw about 30 fresh craters (located 10-20m from each other) and fragments of  undetermined ammunition on an area of soft ground about 200m north-east of the pylons and about 100m east of the nearest residential house. The SMM accessed that all the craters had been caused by rounds of undetermined weapons fired from a westerly direction.

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.*

In the late afternoon on 12 December, the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded three tracer rounds in flight from south-west to north-east, followed by a tracer round from north-east to south-west, all at unknown distances south (unable to assess whether inside or outside the disengagement area). In the early hours of 13 December, the same camera recorded, in sequence, six tracer rounds in flight from north-west to south-east 0.5-1km south-south-west and south-west (assessed as inside the disengagement area), a tracer round from west to east 1-2km south-west (assessed as inside the disengagement area), and five tracer rounds from north-west to south-east 500m south (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

During the day on 14 December, positioned in “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk), south of the Zolote disengagement area, the SMM heard two explosions assessed as impacts 5km south-west. Positioned on the western edge of Pervomaisk, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 3-5km west. Positioned 3km north of Pervomaisk, the SMM heard three explosions assessed as impacts of mortar (120mm) rounds 5km south-south-west.

The same day, the SMM observed a crane unloading concrete blocks and slabs from four or five military-type cargo trucks at “LPR” positions 20m north-west of the Prince Ihor monument south-east of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (15km north-east of Luhansk) – outside the disengagement area – assessed as fortification works.

On 14 December, positioned at the disengagements areas near government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska and Petrivske, the SMM observed calm situations.

On 14 December, the Ukrainian Armed Forces representative to the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) in the JCCC headquarters in government-controlled Soledar (79km north of Donetsk) shared with the SMM a letter from the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation informing Ukraine that the Russian Federation would withdraw its Armed Forces officers from the JCCC.

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 a government-controlled area, the SMM saw ten self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) in violation of the respective withdrawal lines near Oleksandropil (43km 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 seven towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) and four anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm), and noted that 20 self-propelled howitzers (2S1), 27 towed howitzers (19 2A65 – one of which was missing for the first time – and eight 2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm) and eight anti-tank guns (MT-12) continued to be absent.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and anti-aircraft guns[2] in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw an armoured recovery vehicle (BTS-4) towing an IFV (BMP-1) near Semyhiria (58km north-east of Donetsk) and two armoured personnel carriers (APC) (MT-LB), one mounted with an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) atop, near Roty (66km north-east of Donetsk). On 11 December, an SMM mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted five APCs – two BTR-70 and three MT-LB, one mounted with an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) atop – near Vodiane (19km north-east of Mariupol). On 13 December, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted a military-type vehicle (MRAP) near Popasna.

The SMM followed up on the situation of civilians living in Travneve and Hladosove. (See SMM Daily Report 7 December 2017.) On 13 December, a staff member in the village council of Novoluhanske told the SMM that residents of Travneve either did not stay there overnight or spent the night in the basement of their houses because of shelling (see ceasefire violation section). He said that a power company had brought two generators to Travneve to supply electricity to the village. He also noted that the regular bus service bringing workers to Travneve from the pig farm in Novoluhanske had resumed three days before. (See SMM Daily Report 27 November 2017.) In Novoluhanske, on 14 December, military-civil administration staff told the SMM that two generators in Travneve supplied electricity to both the village and nearby Hladosove, adding that the bus service from Novoluhanske to Travneve had resumed several days before. They also said that in Hladosove there were 15 houses inhabited, mainly by elderly people, as well as by three children and a 22-year-old man with a disability. They noted that humanitarian aid was regularly distributed to the population in Travneve and Hladosove by international organizations.

The SMM visited the Petrivske pumping station in government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk) where the head of the station told the Mission that the station had been without power since 5 December. He also said that water could not be pumped to non-government-controlled parts of Luhansk region – including the northern part of Luhansk city, Pryvitne (11km north of Luhansk), Obozne (18km north of Luhansk), Vesela Hora (16km north of Luhansk), Metalist (7km north-west of Luhansk) and Stukalova Balka (9km north of Luhansk) – while government-controlled Nyzhnoteple (26km north of Luhansk) and Artema were supplied with water from storage containers which were about halfway full. The SMM noted that there was no electricity or heating in the station.

The SMM facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance works, co-ordinated by the JCCC, to a power line in Avdiivka. (See SMM Daily Report 13 December 2017.) On the morning of 14 December, the Mission saw four workers from a power company repairing eight damaged sections of the power line and observed the subsequent completion of the repairs. In the early afternoon, the SMM observed lights in different parts of Avdiivka.

The SMM also continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance work, co-ordinated by the JCCC, to a power line near Travneve (see the previous page), to the water pipeline near government-controlled Zalizne (formerly Artemove, 42km north-east of Donetsk), to the water pumping station near Artema, and to the power line near Vesela Hora.

The SMM visited a border area outside of government control. At a border crossing point near Voznesenivka (formerly Chervonopartyzansk, 65km south-east of Luhansk), during one hour, the SMM saw 15 cars, a bus and 19 pedestrians (11 women and eight men, aged 20-55) exiting Ukraine, and 14 cars and 12 pedestrians (seven men and five women, aged 20-55) entering 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 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:

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 there was no available 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.

Other impediments:

  • In Dokuchaievsk, while the SMM was sharing OSCE outreach materials to children, a Russian Federation Armed Forces officer of the JCCC passed over his phone to one of the SMM monitoring officers to speak with a woman on the line. The woman said that she worked for the “local administration” and that the SMM was not allowed to offer any materials to local residents without permission from the “DPR” members.

 

[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. 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.”

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

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 11 December 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 compared with the previous 24 hours. In Chermalyk, the Mission saw damage to civilian properties in residential areas caused by shelling and gunfire. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded ceasefire violations near the Zolote and Petrivske disengagement areas. Its access remained restricted in the disengagement areas and elsewhere, including at a checkpoint near Verkhnoshyrokivske.* The SMM followed up media reports that Mospyne was cordoned off and observed that the entrances to the town were blocked by armed persons. The Mission observed long queues at the entry-exit checkpoint near Stanytsia Luhanska. It facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance of essential infrastructure near Artema. The SMM visited one border area outside of government control. In Kyiv, the Mission monitored the security situation in front of a detention centre and a court building.

In Donetsk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations,[1] including over 1,000 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours (about 860 explosions).

On the evening and night of 10-11 December, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, 20 projectiles in flight from west to east, two undetermined explosions, three projectiles from east to west, an illumination flare in vertical flight, ten projectiles from east to west, two undetermined explosions, an illumination flare in vertical flight and a projectile from west to east, followed by a total of eight undetermined explosions, an airburst, two illumination flares in vertical flight and 24 projectiles (17 from west to east and seven from east to west), all 0.5-1.5km south. On 11 December, the same camera recorded, in sequence, four projectiles in flight from east to west, four projectiles from west to east, two projectiles from east to west, an undetermined explosion, nine tracer rounds from east to west, an undetermined explosion, followed by a total of 16 undetermined explosions, 102 projectiles (88 from east to west and 14 from west to east), and 21 tracer rounds in flight from east to west, all 0.5-1.5km south.

During the day on 11 December, positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about five hours, the SMM heard about 330 undetermined explosions and about 440 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 1-6km at directions ranging from west to north.

On the morning of 11 December, positioned on the south-western edge of government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) for about three hours, the SMM heard eight undetermined explosions 5-7km north-north-west, five undetermined explosions 3-5km east-south-east, and heavy-machine-gun fire 2-3km west. In the afternoon, positioned in Avdiivka for one hour and a half, the SMM heard nine undetermined explosions 3-5km at directions ranging from east to south-west and three undetermined explosions 1-2km at directions ranging from east-south-east to south-west

On the morning of 11 December, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 40 undetermined explosions 3-5km north-west. The same morning, positioned on the north-western edge of Horlivka for four and a half hours, the SMM heard about 40 undetermined explosions and heavy-machine-gun fire, all 6km south-west.

On the evening and night of 10-11 December, the SMM camera at the entry-exit checkpoint in government‑controlled Maiorsk (45km north-east of Donetsk) recorded four undetermined explosions and 67 projectiles in flight from south-east to north-west, all at undetermined distances east.

On the evening of 10 December, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 280 explosions (about 130 assessed as impacts of artillery rounds, about 20 as outgoing artillery (122mm) rounds, and the remainder undetermined) and about 200 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, as well as 34 minutes of uncountable overlapping explosions assessed as rounds of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-1) cannon (73mm) fire 46 minutes of uncountable overlapping bursts and shots of IFV (BMP-2) cannon (30mm), heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 5-8km south-east and south-south-east. The SMM also heard about 40 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery (122mm) rounds 5-6km north, 20 explosions assessed as mortar (120mm) rounds and 20 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 6-7km west.

While at the same location on the following day, the SMM heard about 190 explosions (about 170 assessed as impacts of artillery and mortar rounds and the remainder undetermined), about 50 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, ten minutes of uncountable overlapping undetermined explosions, and 15 minutes of uncountable overlapping shots of small-arms fire, all 5-9km at directions ranging from south-east to south-west, as well as 22 explosions (two assessed as outgoing artillery (122mm) rounds and the remainder as artillery rounds) 7-9km north-east.

On the evening and night of 10-11 December, the SMM camera 1km south-west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, in sequence, an undetermined explosion, two projectiles in flight from east to west, and 17 projectiles from west to east, followed by a total of five undetermined explosions and 79 projectiles (71 from east to west and eight from west to east), all 5-8km north. On 11 December, the SMM camera recorded, in sequence, 20 projectiles from west to east, four tracer rounds from east to west, a projectile from east to west, 20 projectiles from west to east, four projectiles from east to west, 35 projectiles from west to east, nine projectiles from east to west, seven projectiles from west to east, and a projectile from east to west, all 5-8km north.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including, however, more explosions (about 50), compared with the previous 24 hours (four explosions).

One the evening of 10 December, while on the northern edge of government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard two undetermined explosions and 15 shots of small-arms fire 3-5km north-north-east, three undetermined explosions 10-15km south-south-west, and 22 undetermined explosions and about ten bursts and shots of IFV (BMP-2) cannon and heavy-machine-gun fire, all at unknown distances south-south-west. While at the same location on the following day, the SMM heard 18 explosions assessed as outgoing mortar rounds and 20 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 2-3km south-east.

The SMM assessed damage to civilian properties in residential areas caused by shelling and gunfire. On 11 December, the SMM observed five fresh impact sites in government-controlled Chermalyk (31km north-east of Mariupol).

At 33 Torhivelna Street, the SMM saw shrapnel damage to the south-facing wall of a barn which had partially collapsed. The SMM also saw the tailfin of a round next to the barn. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by a round of either an IFV (BMP-1) cannon or a recoilless gun (SPG-9, 73mm) fired from an east-south-easterly direction.

At 30 Torhivelna Street, the SMM saw a fresh crater 8m south-west of an abandoned house. The SMM also saw shattered windows and shrapnel damage to the south-facing wall of the house and shrapnel damage to the north-facing wall. The SMM assessed that the damage to the south-facing wall had been caused by either a round of an IFV (BMP-1) cannon or a recoilless gun (SPG-9, 73mm) fired from an east-south-easterly direction and the damage to the north-facing wall resulted from the impact to the barn at 33 Torhivelna Street (see above).

About 100m west of the house at 30 Torhivelna Street, the SMM saw a fresh crater in a field; the SMM was unable to determine the direction of fire or the type of weapon used.

At 43 Pervomaiska Street, the SMM saw a fresh crater and three holes in a north-east-facing fence about 20m south-west of a house, assessed as caused by either a round of an IFV (BMP-1) cannon or a recoilless gun (SPG-9, 73mm) fired from an east-south-easterly direction.

At 44 Naberezhna Street, the SMM saw a fresh crater 35m south of a one-storey house, assessed as caused by a mortar (82mm) round. The Mission was unable to determine the direction of fire.

Three female residents (in their sixties) of Chermalyk told the SMM that that shelling had occurred between 08:30 and 14:00 on 10 December. The SMM observed Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers armed with assault rifles (AK-variant) close to residential houses in Chermalyk, including 40m north-west of the impact site at 43 Pervomaiska Street.

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 the afternoon of 9 December, the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded 21 tracer rounds in flight from west to east, followed by eight tracer rounds from south-west to north-east, all at unknown distances south-south-west and south-west (unable to assess whether inside or outside the disengagement area).

During the day on 11 December, positioned in government-controlled Zolote-4 (60km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard two undetermined explosions and a burst of heavy-machine-gun fire 4km south and five shots of small-arms fire 200-300m north, all assessed as outside the disengagement area.

On 11 December, positioned in the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area and in Petrivske, 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.

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in a non-government-controlled area, the SMM saw four stationary tanks (type unknown) on a firing platform about 4km south-east of Ternove (57km east 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 saw 21 tanks (T-64), seven self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm – four of which were observed for the first time) and eight self-propelled mortars (2S9 Nona-S, 120mm – for the first time), and noted that 35 self-propelled howitzers (seven 2S3 – for the first time; 16 2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm; and 12 2S3M, 152 mm), 18 towed howitzers (D-20, 152mm), 34 tanks (T-64 – four of which were missing for the first time), two surface-to-air missile systems (9K33 Osa), six anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm), and 35 mortars (nine PM-38; 120mm; two 2B9 Vasilek, 82mm; six PM-42, 120mm; and 18 2B11 Sani, 120mm) continued to be absent.

The SMM revisited a Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage site whose location was beyond withdrawal lines and noted that the site continued to be abandoned and that 13 anti-tank guns (MT-12) continued to be absent.

The SMM revisited an “LPR” permanent storage site whose location was beyond withdrawal lines and noted that four tanks (three T-64 and one T-72) continued to be absent.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles,anti-aircraft guns[2] and other indications of military presence in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw an armoured personnel carrier (APC) (MT-LB) near Vidrodzhennia (66km north-east of Donetsk) and an APC (BTR-80) near Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk). The SMM also saw five caps assessed as from a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) near Novomykhailivka (28km south-west of Donetsk). On 8 December, an SMM mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle spotted a probable reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) near Svitlodarsk.

In non-government-controlled areas, the SMM saw a stationary IFV (BMP-variant) under camouflage netting behind a house in Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol), an APC (BTR-80) near Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, 29km north-east of Mariupol), an APC (BTR-80) near Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk), an IFV ( BMP-2) and an APC (MT-LB) mounted with an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) near Slovianoserbsk (28km north-west of Luhansk), two APCs (MT-LB mounted with an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) and BTR-80) near Dovhe (22km north-west of Luhansk), and two IFVs (BMP-1) near Popasna (69km west of Luhansk).

The SMM followed up on media reports that “DPR”-controlled Mospyne (24km south-east of Donetsk) was cordoned off by the armed formations. At the southern entrance to Mospyne, at the junction of Zaoieva and Biriuzova Streets, the SMM saw two armed men guarding the entrance, one of whom was wearing a balaclava and had a red-cross patch on his chest. One of them approached the SMM and told it to turn back. When the Mission asked why, he refused to answer. At the south-eastern edge of the town, the SMM saw three persons in military-style clothing at a roadblock, one of whom approached the Mission and told it to turn back without providing any reason.

In “DPR”-controlled Byriuky (28km south-east of Donetsk), a village adjacent to Mospyne, two women (in their thirties) told the SMM that they were residents of Mospyne and that when they had been exiting Mospyne at around 05:00 on the morning of 11 December, they had been stopped by “military” people. The women said that the “military” people had checked their identification documents, adding that the “military” people had been inspecting houses in the town. The women expressed concern that they would not be able to re-enter the town and noted that children had been sent home from school in Mospyne because most of the teachers had not shown up. Also in Byriuky, a group of four men (in their twenties) told the SMM that all roads leading to Mospyne were blocked and that no one was allowed to enter or exit the town. They said that no public buses were allowed to pass through the town and that the “military” was checking identity documents of people and vehicles. They added that they had heard that the blockade had started at 04:00 on 11 December and would last until 04:00 on 12 December.

The SMM continued to observe long queues at the entry-exit checkpoint near Stanytsia Luhanska. At the government checkpoint north of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, at 13:00, the SMM saw about 300 pedestrians queuing to travel further into government-controlled areas and about 30 queuing to travel in the opposite direction. At an “LPR” checkpoint south of the bridge, at 09:30, the SMM saw about 1,600 pedestrians queuing to travel towards government-controlled areas and about 350 queuing in the opposite direction. At the same checkpoint, at 12:20, the SMM saw about 600 pedestrians queueing to travel towards government-controlled areas.

The SMM followed up on reports of lack of electricity in Avdiivka and government-controlled Kriakivka (38km northwest of Luhansk). In Avdiivka, the SMM observed that there was no electricity on Chapaivea, Molodizhna and Haharina Streets in the central part of the town. The head of the military-civil administration told the SMM that electricity had been cut off due to shelling damage to power lines in the south-eastern area of Avdiivka. In Kriakivka, three women (aged 50-70) told the SMM that electricity had been cut to the entire village when power lines were damaged by shelling that had occurred on the night of 10-11 December. The SMM observed three men (aged 50-60) trying to restore electricity, one of whom climbed a wooden pole and attempted to re-connect the broken power line in the village.

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance work, co-ordinated by the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), on the water pumping station near government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk).

The SMM visited one border area outside of government control. At the border crossing point near Marynivka (78km east of Donetsk), the SMM saw 11 cars (two with “DPR” plates), a van (with “DPR” plates), and a covered cargo truck in a queue to exit Ukraine. During about 25 minutes, the Mission saw eight cars, a van, and a truck exiting Ukraine, and five cars, a bus, and two female pedestrians (aged 30-40) entering Ukraine.

In Kyiv, the SMM monitored a gathering outside a detention centre (See SMM Daily Report 11 December 2017). On 9 December at 3B Askoldiv Lane, the SMM saw about 40-50 people (mixed gender, aged 40-65) gathered in front of the detention centre in which Mikheil Saakashvili had reportedly been since the evening of 8 December. The SMM saw that some of them were covering their faces and that three metal barrels and firewood were set up. The Mission observed about 20 police officers in riot gear blocking the entrance to the detention centre with a bus and a section of Askoldiv Lane closed-off to traffic. During its presence, the SMM observed a calm situation.

On 11 December, the SMM monitored a gathering outside Pecherskyi District Court in Kyiv where the court hearing of Mr. Saakashvili was taking place. At 42A Khreshchatyk Street, the SMM saw about 100 people (mixed gender, aged 30-65), some of whom were dressed in camouflage, gathered in front of the court building. The Mission observed a passage leading to the court yard cordoned off by about 70 police officers in riot gear and an additional 150 police and National Guard officers in riot gear standing on both sides of the court entrance. The SMM heard some participants saying that the prosecution was requesting house arrest for Mr. Saakashvili. The Mission also saw minor scuffles between some participants of the gathering and the police officers when the former attempted to enter the court yard, but it noted that the overall situation was calm. Later in the day, the media reported that the court had refused the prosecution’s request and ordered Mr. Saakashvili’s release.

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 2 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:

  • At a checkpoint near Verkhnoshyrokivske, an armed person denied the SMM’s passage through the checkpoint after it stated its intention to visit Novoazovsk. The person claimed that the SMM was not allowed to pass due to a “reconnaissance group operation.” 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. 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 there was no available information about the de-mining process. 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.

 

[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. Four SMM cameras continue to be tested until the end of December 2017.

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

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

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 continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded ceasefire violations inside the Petrivske disengagement area. Its access remained restricted in the disengagement areas and elsewhere, including at a heavy weapons holding area in a non-government-controlled area of Donetsk region.* The SMM saw shelling damage on a roof of a building in Novooleksandrivka and impact sites in residential areas of Dokuchaievsk. The Mission saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near Volnovakha. It facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance of essential infrastructure near Zalizne, Vesela Hora, Artema and Zolote.In Kyiv the SMM followed up on the situation around the protest camp outside the Parliament building.

In Donetsk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations[1], including almost 300 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 760 explosions).

On the night of 5-6 December the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north-west of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, 12 projectiles in flight from east to west, 13 undetermined explosions, followed by a total of 69 undetermined explosions, 73 projectiles and eight tracer rounds from east to west, 18 projectiles and one tracer round from west to east, all 0.5-1.5km south. During the day on 6 December the camera recorded a total of 104 undetermined explosions, 40 projectiles and four tracer rounds in flight from east to west, three projectiles in flight from west to east, 73 projectiles and eight tracer rounds in flight from south to north, two projectiles in flight from north to south and 31 tracer rounds in flight (trajectory not determined), all 0.5-1.5km south.

On the night of 5-6 December the SMM camera 1km south-west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, in sequence, 28 projectiles in flight from east to west, followed by a total of five projectiles from west to east, 26 from east to west and one undetermined explosion, all 5-8km north.

While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) on the night of 5-6 December the SMM heard six undetermined explosions 6-8km south-west.

While in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk) on the night of 5-6 December the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions and heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all either 4-6km north-west or 4-10km south-west.

On the afternoon of 6 December, while at the same location, the SMM heard 29 shots of small-arms fire 800m south-west, assessed as part of a live-fire exercise in the security zone, in violation of the Decision of the Trilateral Contact Group on full cessation of live-fire exercises of March 2016.

Positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about four hours, the SMM heard 77 undetermined explosions and small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire – including about five minutes of overlapping, uncountable bursts and shots – all 1-5km west.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including 66 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 600 explosions).

While positioned on the eastern edge of government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) on the morning of 6 December the SMM heard 50 undetermined explosions and heavy-machine-gun fire 3km west, assessed as outside the disengagement area

Positioned on the southern edge of “LPR”-controlled Krasnyi Lyman (30km north-west of Luhansk) to monitor and facilitate maintenance work on nearby water wells, the SMM heard ten undetermined explosions 10km west, one explosion assessed as an outgoing round from a recoilless gun (SPG-9, 73mm) 1km west and heavy-machine-gun fire 1km north-west, 3km north-east and 5km north-west. As a result of the ceasefire violations, the Luhansk Water Company stopped the repair work and left the area.

The SMM observed shelling damage to a building in Novooleksandrivka (65km west of Luhansk). The SMM observed a 1m by 0.8m wide hole on the east-south-east-facing side of the roof of a former civil administration building. The SMM assessed that the damage was fresh and had been caused by a projectile fired from a recoilless gun (SPG-9) from an easterly direction. A resident (aged about 60) told the SMM that he had heard five explosions at about 23:00 on 5 December. The SMM saw a Ukrainian Armed Forces positions about 100m west of the damaged building.

The SMM, accompanied by Russian Federation officers of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), observed impact sites in residential areas of “DPR”-controlled Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk). The SMM saw fresh damage to the west-facing side of the roof and holes in the metal siding of the west-facing wall of a shop at 78/2 Tsentralna Street. In a fifth-floor apartment on 91/44 Tsentralna Street the SMM saw a fresh hole in an exterior west-facing window frame. The owner (a woman aged 36) of the apartment told the SMM that she was at home with her husband and two children when she heard an explosion close by at 21:30 on 5 December.

Inside a fourth-floor apartment on 93/54 Tsentralna Street the SMM saw that a west-facing window in the living room had been broken. The owner of the apartment (a woman aged 65) said she had heard an explosion at 22:00 on 5 December.

In a fifth-floor apartment at 83/30 Tsentralna Street the SMM saw holes in a west-facing balcony door. The apartment owner (a woman aged 23) said that she was at home with her husband and daughter when she heard an explosion at about 21:30 on 5 December.

The SMM observed shrapnel damage to a west-facing balcony of a fifth-floor apartment at 95/24 Tsentralna Street. The SMM saw shrapnel damage to the west-facing exterior brick wall and balcony door and also saw that the glass in the door was shattered.

At 48 Hvardiiska Street, the SMM saw a fresh hole in a window on a west-facing wall and shrapnel damage on the wall itself. The homeowner (a man aged 50) said that at about 21:30 on 5 December he – along with his wife and child – had heard something impact their building.

At an apartment building on 15/29 Vatutina Street the SMM saw that the windows on a west-facing fifth-floor balcony were missing, replaced with plastic sheeting. In the apartment three women (aged in their 40s) said that the resident of the apartment (a woman aged 71) was in her apartment at the time of the incident but was not injured. The SMM saw fresh shrapnel damage on the balcony and on the west-facing wall of the living room.

Residents, speaking to the SMM separately, told the SMM that no one had been injured and that “DPR” members had removed shrapnel from the area before the SMM’s arrival. The SMM assessed that in all cases the damage was caused by unknown projectiles fired from a westerly direction.

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 the night of 5 December both SMM cameras in Stanytsia Luhanska and at the Prince Ihor monument recorded the same undetermined explosion (assessed as outside of the disengagement area) about 70m north of the camera at the Prince Ihor monument.

On 4 December the SMM camera in Petrivske recorded one tracer round in flight from east to west 0.5-1km south-west (assessed as inside the disengagement area), one tracer round from north to south 0.5-1km south (unable to assess if in or outside the disengagement area) and seven tracer rounds from west to east 1-2km south (assessed as inside the disengagement area). On 5 December the camera recorded at least 300 tracer rounds in flight from north to south 6-10km west (assessed as outside the disengagement area) and two from west to east 1-2km south (assessed as inside the disengagement area).

Positioned in Petrivske on 6 December the SMM heard four undetermined explosions 1-5km north-west and small-arms fire (assessed as outside the disengagement area) and small-arms fire 2-3km south-west (assessed as inside 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 two stationary self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) and a stationary multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) near Volnovakha (53km south of Donetsk).

Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites in government-controlled areas, the SMM observed a tank (T-64) without a turret and main armament near government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk).

Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites in non-government-controlled areas, the SMM observed a tank (T-64) near Oleksandrivske (formerly Rozy Liuksemburh) (90km south-east of Donetsk).

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles, anti-aircraft weapons[2] and a military-type armoured vehicle in the security zone. In government-controlled areas an SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on 5 December spotted a probable reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) and a military-type armoured vehicle (type undetermined), both revetted and under netting, near a government-controlled part of Zaitseve (50km north-east of Donetsk). An SMM mini-UAV on 5 December spotted one armoured personnel carrier (APC) (Saxon), one probable reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2), one probable aircraft communications automatic jamming station (R-934B/BM VHF/UHF), one covered infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (type undetermined) and one probable IFV (BMP-1). Near Dacha (53km north of Donetsk) an SMM mid-range UAV spotted, on 5 December, one reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2). On 6 December the SMM saw one IFV (BMP-1) near Popasna and one reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) near Orikhove-Donetske (44km north-west of Luhansk).

North-north-east of Travneve (51km north-east of Donetsk) an SMM mid-range UAV spotted, on 5 December, a military camp with tents, bunkers, firing positions, vehicle revetments and one APC (an MT-LB with a mounted ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun), three IFV (two BMP-1, and an additional BMP) and several ammunition crates nearby; two BMPs had Ukrainian Armed Forces markings. In the centre of the village, the UAV observed a group of about 25 civilians gathered in front of a military truck. North-west of Travneve, the UAV also spotted another military camp, bunkers and trenches, sandbags and a communications antenna. North-west of Travneve (and north-east of Hladosove, 51km north-east of Donetsk) an SMM mid-range flight spotted, on 5 December, a military camp with bunkers, firing positions and vehicle revetments and three IFV (BMP-1). Nearby, north of Hladosove, the UAV also spotted another military camp, bunkers and trenches and one reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2).

On 5 December an SMM mid-range UAV flight over “DPR”-controlled Holmivskyi (49km north-east of Donetsk) spotted a camp north of the village and new firing positions and trenches several hundred metres long. Aerial imagery of the area taken in September did not show these new positions. The UAV also spotted ammunition crates and military-type trucks in the area.

The SMM saw tracks assessed as those of vehicles with a tank (T-64) chassis near Kuznetsovo-Mykhailivka (67km south-east of Donetsk) and Kozatske (36km north-east of Mariupol).

Near “DPR”-controlled Samiilove (89km south of Donetsk and about 1-2km from the border with the Russian Federation) the SMM observed newly dug trenches, barbed-wire, watchtowers and sand bags at a former weapon storage site. An armed man denied the SMM access to the compound on 1 December (see SMM Daily Report, 2 December 2017).

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance work, co-ordinated by the JCCC, to a water pipeline near government-controlled Zalizne (42km north-east of Donetsk), to the power substation near “LPR”-controlled Vesela Hora (16km north of Luhansk), to the Zolote-Popasna water pipeline and to the water pumping station in government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk).

In Luhansk city the SMM followed up on reports that an electricity company had cut power to the Petrivske pumping station on 5 December, thus stopping the supply of water from the pumping station to Luhansk city. The SMM observed minimal impact of the cut on the supply of water in Luhansk city and surrounding areas.

The SMM visited three border areas outside of government control. Whilst at the Sievernyi (50km south-east of Luhansk) border crossing point for about 20 minutes, the SMM saw no vehicles cross in either direction.

At the Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk) border crossing point for about an hour, the SMM saw 14 cars (one with “LPR” plates) and 60 pedestrians (equal numbers of men and women) exiting Ukraine and 15 cars (one with “LPR” plates), two covered trucks, three buses and 30 pedestrians (19 women and 11 men) entering Ukraine.

At the border crossing point near Novoazovsk (102km south-east of Donetsk) for about 40 minutes, the SMM counted four cars (two with “DPR” plates) and a truck exiting Ukraine, and four cars (one with “DPR” plates) entering Ukraine.

In Kyiv the SMM followed up on the situation around the protest camp in front of the Parliament building, following media reports of early morning clashes between police and protesters associated with Mikhail Saakashvili (see SMM Daily Report, 6 December 2017). At the site on Hrushevskoho Street the SMM observed a calm situation. It observed about 100 people (mostly men in military-style outfits) and some members of the Donbas battalion in black uniforms wearing helmets and carrying hand-held radios. In the middle of the camp the SMM saw a pile of tyres and piles of bricks. The Parliament building was secured by 200 police and National Guard officers, all wearing riot gear. In Marynskii Park the SMM saw around 30 police and National Guard buses, police vans and patrol vehicles. The SMM assessed that about 1,200 law enforcement officers were present. Later, in the afternoon, the SMM saw protestors had piled bricks and stones inside the camp perimeter, and that some wore protective gear (helmets, masks and even some body armour). In the evening the SMM observed Mr. Saakashvili address a crowd of about 1,000 persons (middle-aged and elderly men and women). He said that he and his followers planned a march on 10 December. About 150 law enforcement officers blocked the entrance to the Parliament building. When the address was over the crowd dispersed peacefully.

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 2 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:

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 (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.

Delay:

  • Armed “DPR” members delayed the SMM for 26 minutes before giving it access to a heavy weapons holding area. The SMM informed the JCCC.

 

[1] For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table. Four SMM cameras continue to be tested until the end of December 2017.

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