Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Ukraine based on information received until 18 July 18:00 (Kyiv time)
This update is provided for media and general public.
The SMM obtained very limited access to the crash site of Malaysia Airlines MH17, which came down on 17 July near Hrabove (79 km east of Donetsk). There were dead bodies at the scene, marked, but exposed to the elements. No process of debris collection was observed. Some of the ’Donetsk People’s Republic’s‘ guards were visibly intoxicated and aggressive.
The situation in parts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions remained tense with on-going fighting around the city of Luhansk. While patrolling the city centre of Luhansk, close to the occupied building of the Regional Administration, the SMM heard the sound of a shell hitting a garage, located about 200 metres away. Within two minutes the SMM arrived at the scene and found one man killed lying on the pavement; the garage and a car were totally demolished.
On 17 July, the SMM met with four members of Luhansk emergency first aid brigade. They reported that the day before, the first aid team responded to a call after firing in Luhansk had taken place, but before they were even able to see the patients, firing resumed and they had to run to a basement. One paramedic was injured by shrapnel. The doctors said that in June and July alone there were 250 killed and 850 wounded in the Luhansk region. The doctors also informed that on 16 July alone three persons were killed and 30 were wounded in Luhansk city. This last number does not include civilians killed in close vicinity of combat zones outside of the city and causalities among combatants. They also claimed that increasingly more people were being killed by booby traps and mines.
The SMM visited Pokrovske checkpoint held by the Ukrainian army (approximately 103km south-east of Dnipropetrovsk) close to the boundary with the Donetsk region. According to information obtained by SMM, Special Police Units (OMON) have been deployed in the area, the checkpoint has been recently reinforced and the Ukrainian army personnel presence has increased.
The situation in Kherson was calm.
The SMM visited the Kyiv District Court of Odessa, which had been evacuated the same day due to a hoax bomb alert. The SMM was informed that this was already the second incident of this kind, the first taking place on 24 June. Of note, during the past weeks various institutions and facilities in Odessa were subject to bomb threats.
A representative of the Border Guard in Chernivtsi informed the SMM that at present approximately 200 border guards from the region were deployed in the east, to provide security at the border with the Russian Federation. Their rotation is envisaged between the end of July and first weeks of August.
The situation in Ivano-Frankivsk was calm.
The SMM in Lviv monitored in the evening of 17 July the collection of food and other goods for soldiers deployed in Donbas. The event was organised by Lviv volunteers. The SMM noticed 25 carton boxes (approx. 20-25 kg size each) containing various supplies.
The SMM continued to monitor the protest launched on 17 July by the relatives of Ukrainian military members currently deployed in Donbas. The protestors have been demanding faster troop rotations and the provision of necessary supplies and equipment for troops. At approximately 13:00 on 18 July, around 30 protesters blocked the main road to Kyiv near the village of Hamaliyivka (14 km north-east of Lviv). The Chief of the Regional Police Department and the Deputy Governor were seen at the scene negotiating with the protestors.
Approximately 10 policemen were present. Passenger vehicles could bypass the blockade using a village road; however, trucks and buses queued in a long line extending approximately 1 km on both sides of the blockade.
The sitaution in Kyiv was calm.