Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 6 April 2017
This report is for the media and the general public.
The SMM observed fewer ceasefire violations in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission followed up on reports of civilian casualties in Avdiivka, Marinka and Novoazovsk. The Mission monitored the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske, but its access there and elsewhere remained restricted.* It continued to observe weapons in violation of withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line. The SMM noted no changes and a calm situation at the blockade sites near Hirske and Buhas. The SMM continued to observe the presence of mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and the presence of mine hazard signs.
In Donetsk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations,  including about 180 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (570 explosions). The majority of explosions were recorded in the areas of Donetsk, Avdiivka and Yasynuvata.
During the night of 5-6 April, while in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre, the SMM heard eight undetermined explosions 7-10km north-north-west. During the same night, the SMM camera at the “DPR”-controlled Oktiabr mine (9km north-west of Donetsk city centre) recorded 44 projectiles (in sequence) in flight from east to west, five projectiles west to east, and two projectiles east to west. During the day on 6 April, positioned at the “DPR”-controlled Donetsk central railway station (6km north-west of the city centre) the SMM heard 12 undetermined explosions and nine shots of heavy-machine-gun fire 5-10km south-east, seven undetermined explosions, about 60 shots and 70 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire. It followed a total of: 13 undetermined explosions 5-7km west-north-west and west; 33 shots and 57 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 5-19km south-east; four bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 3-5km east; three undetermined explosions 5-7km north-north-east and north-east.
During the evening and night of 5-6 April, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded eight undetermined explosions and one airburst 3-5km east-south-east; an exchange of fire that began with 17 projectiles in flight from east to west followed by 19 undetermined projectiles in flight from west to east, 28 from east to west, two from west to east, 16 from east to west and 12 from west to east, all at 4-7km east-south-east. The following day, while positioned in Avdiivka for about three hours, the SMM heard 55 undetermined explosions 2-5km south, about 170 bursts and 105 shots of heavy-machine-gun fire 2-4km east-south-east.
On 6 April, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about two hours, the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 3-5km west, followed by ten shots of small-arms fire 5-6km south-west and five undetermined explosions 5-8km west. The SMM heard a total of 26 undetermined explosions 3-8km west, one undetermined explosion 8-10km south-west, 17 shots of small-arms fire 5-10km ranging from south-west to north-west, and 11 shots 1-3km south.
Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard and saw one explosion, assessed as the outgoing round of artillery fire 500-700m east and heard a subsequent explosion, assessed as its impact approximately 6-8km west.
Positioned in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 19 undetermined explosions 4-6km south-south-west and south-west.
On the evening and night of 5-6 April, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded (in sequence): five tracer rounds in flight from west to east; nine rocket-assisted projectiles in flight from west to east; two from east to west; 34 from west to east; nine east to west; nine tracer rounds in flight from east to west; and nine rocket-assisted projectiles from west to east. All were at undetermined distances north and north-north-east of the camera.
Positioned about 1km north-east of government-controlled Hnutove (20km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard one undetermined explosion at an unknown distance south-east and three undetermined explosions at an unknown distance east-north-east and east.
In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including about 110 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (156 explosions).
Positioned in government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard two undetermined explosion 12km south.
Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard three undetermined explosions and three bursts of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) fire.
Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Kalynove (59km west of Luhansk), SMM heard 29 undetermined explosions about 4km south-west, five 10km south-east, two 4km west, and an undetermined number of bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 4km south-west.
Positioned in “LPR”-controlled part of Novooleksandrivka (65km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard a total of 19 undetermined explosions 10km south-south-east and south-east, including two assessed as outgoing.
The SMM followed up on reports of civilian casualties in Avdiivka, Marinka and Novoazovsk. The SMM followed up on a report by a Ukrainian officer of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) about a civilian casualty in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north-west of Donetsk). The SMM spoke with medical staff in a hospital in Avdiivka, who said that on 5 April, a middle-aged man had arrived at the hospital, where he was treated for shrapnel wounds to his right shoulder. According to the police, shrapnel had hit the man while he was in the garden of his residence in 75 Shevchenko Street in Avdiivka.
Medical staff in a hospital of “DPR”-controlled Novoazovsk (40km east of Mariupol), told the SMM that a man (42 years old) had died on 3 April following injuries sustained during a shelling on the same day in “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol). According to medical staff, the victim had been a “DPR” member, originally from the Russian Federation, and had become a resident of Pikuzy in 2014. (On 3 April, a woman told the SMM that her 42-year-old son-in-law had died on 3 April after an explosion had occurred outside his home the same day. She said he had been a “DPR” member and that the man’s relatives were arranging for the transfer of his body back to the Russian Federation.)
Additionally, medical staff of Novoazovsk hospital told the SMM that on 5 April a hand grenade had exploded injuring a group of ten people (seven women and three men 20-68 years old) while they had been clearing the sides of a main road on the outskirts of Novoazovsk from leaves and bushes. The medical personnel said that one woman had died before reaching the hospital and had been taken to the morgue, while the other nine people had sustained injuries of varying degrees mostly due to shrapnel and concussions. In the morning of 6 April, the medical personnel added, two of the victims were sent to a hospital in Donetsk to undergo more complex surgeries.
The SMM followed up on a case in government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk). (See SMM Daily Report 5 April 2017). The SMM spoke with the mother of a 15-year-old boy, who the SMM saw limping. The woman told the SMM that the boy had suffered injuries to his right leg caused by a projectile on 2 April. She explained that her son had heard an undetermined number of shots, immediately before he had been hit. She added that the incident had occurred while he had been cycling from 27 Moskalevskoho Street to 12 Moskalevskoho Street in Marinka. The woman also told the SMM that a further operation in a hospital in government-controlled Kurakhove (40km west of Donetsk) had been scheduled.
The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas of 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 6 April, positioned in a government-controlled area north of the bridge of Stanytsia Luhanska for about six hours, the SMM observed that no disengagement or de-mining activity had taken place. A Ukrainian officer of the JCCC told the SMM that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had no orders to disengage. At 11:54 an SMM patrol south of the bridge saw a white flare, assessed as fired near the “LPR” checkpoint south of the bridge. A Russian officer of the JCCC and an “LPR” member said that “LPR” members were ready to disengage.
On 4 April, the SMM camera in government-controlled Zolote recorded one undetermined explosion (assessed as outside the disengagement area) 5km south-east of the camera. On 6 April, positioned inside the disengagement area near government-controlled Zolote, the SMM heard 19 explosions, including 14 assessed as outgoing rounds of an unknown artillery weapon 12-15km west, four undetermined explosions 12-15km west, three undetermined explosions 5-7km east, and one undetermined explosion 10km south-west. All the explosions were assessed as outside the disengagement area.
Positioned in the disengagement area of Zolote, near “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 5km south-west and two undetermined explosions 10km south-west, all assessed as outside the disengagement area.
Positioned outside the disengagement area of Petrivske, 2km east of government-controlled Bohdanivka (41km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard 18 undetermined explosions at unknown distance south and south-west.
The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons, in implementation of the Package of Measures, its Addendum, and the Memorandum .
In violation of the respective withdrawal lines in government-controlled areas the SMM saw: one self-propelled howitzer (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) on a flatbed truck, stationary on the edge of the road, 29 self-propelled howitzers (18 2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm, 11 2S3, 152mm) and ten anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) at the railway station, all near Kostiantynivka (33km south-west of Donetsk); three multiple-launch-rocket-systems (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) near Izhevka (66km north of Luhansk).
In violation of the respective withdrawal lines in non-government-controlled areas the SMM saw: seven tanks (T-72), 17 self-propelled howitzers (seven 2S1, 122mm, five 2A65s Msta-B 152 mm, five D-30, 122 mm) and seven MLRS (BM-21) at the Luhansk airport grounds in the south-eastern part of Luhansk. On 5 April an SMM mini-UAV spotted 13 MLRS (BM-21) near Khrustalnyi (formerly Krasnyi Luch, 56km south-west of Luhansk).
Beyond withdrawal lines, but outside storage sites in government-controlled areas, the SMM saw on 5 April two tanks (T-64) stationary on the side of the road and two tanks (T-64) on trailers moving south on the M03 highway near Bakhmut (formerly Artemivsk, 67km north of Donetsk); nine anti-tanks guns (MT-12) near government-controlled Vesele (87km north of Donetsk).
Beyond withdrawal lines, but outside storage sites, in non-government-controlled areas, the SMM saw five towed howitzers (four 2A36 and one 2A65) near Khrustalnyi, seven tanks (four T-72 and three T-64) in a known training area near Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk). Aerial imagery revealed the presence on 3 April of two tanks (type undetermined) near Lutuhyne (20km south-west of Luhansk).
The SMM observed weapons that could not be verified as withdrawn, as their storage does not comply with the criteria set in the 16 October 2015 notification. In government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM saw: 15 self-propelled howitzers (12 2S3, 152mm and three 2S1, 122mm), two towed howitzers (D-30, 122mm), four surface-to-air missile systems (two 9K33 Osa and two 9K35 Strela-10) and four self-propelled mortars (2S9 Nona, 120mm). The SMM noted as missing: 41 tanks (T-64), 22 self-propelled howitzers (2S1, 122mm), two towed howitzers (D-30, 122mm) and six mortars (2B11 Sani, 120mm).
The SMM revisited a number of Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage sites, whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines, and observed as missing: 105 tanks (84 T-64 and 21 T-72), seven towed howitzers (D-44, 85mm); 17 mortars (2B9 Vasilek, 82mm) and four mortars (2B11, 120mm), one of which was noted missing for the first time.
The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles  in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw on 6 April one infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2 or BMP-3) in the yard of a house in Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk) and one (IFV) (BMP-1) two metres into the tree line inside the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area.
In non-government-controlled areas, the SMM saw seven APCs (MTLB) and seven IFVs (BMP-2) in the south-eastern part of Luhansk city; at three different positions near Kalynove (60km west of Luhansk) the SMM saw in total three dug-in IFVs (a BMP and two BMP-2), at one of the positions the SMM saw at least ten armed and unarmed “LPR” members who were unloading boxes marked as containing ammunition from a truck.
Aerial imagery revealed the presence on 4 April of six armoured combat vehicles in eastern Donetsk city.
In Donetsk city, the SMM saw around 50 buses moving along Pushkin Boulevard escorted by four vehicles with flashing lights. On the road to Makiivka (“DPR”-controlled, 12km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM saw several groups of 40-50 men wearing green reflective vests, standing along the road and controlling the traffic. At the eastern edge of Makiivka, the SMM saw 15 buses parked on the side of the road in the direction of Makiivka. Later, the SMM saw 27 buses at the entrance to Donetsk city from the direction of Makiivka full with people (men in their 30s-40s). Near “DPR”-controlled Ternove (57km east of Donetsk), the SMM saw a temporary checkpoint and six armed men directing a convoy of 21 buses full of men, traveling towards Ternove*. All observed convoys of buses were accompanied by armed men along the roads and in vehicles*.
Near Pryvillia (90km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM saw a convoy consisting of 13 empty flatbed trucks travelling north-west on road M03.
On 5 April in government-controlled Lysychansk (75km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM observed one L-39 Albatros jet flying next to the security zone from west to east at an altitude below 100m.
The SMM noted no changes and a calm situation at blockade sites near Buhas (44km south-west of Donetsk), Hirske (63km west of Luhansk) and Bakhmut.
The SMM continued to observe the presence of explosive remnants of mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO), and mine hazards signs. On the western side of the road connecting Petrivske with “DPR”-controlled Styla (34km south of Donetsk), the SMM saw heavy tracks heading west from the road through an earth path; on each side of the path the SMM saw for the first time a mine sign (red with white letters).
At a checkpoint near government-controlled Maiorsk (45km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM facilitated and monitored demining activities of a Ukrainian Armed Forces demining team. On 2 April, the SMM had discovered an object, assessed as an unexploded 120mm mortar informed the Ukrainian Armed Forces. On 6 April, the demining team removed the UXO.
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.
Denial of access:
- At the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, a Ukrainian officer of the JCCC told the SMM that its safety still could not be guaranteed in the areas surrounding the main road due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The possible presence of mines and UXO prevented the SMM from travelling further south-east into the Zolote disengagement area from government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk). The Mission informed the JCCC.
- At an “LPR” checkpoint on the edge of the Zolote disengagement area, armed men told the SMM that its safety still could not be guaranteed in the fields and side roads due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The SMM was unable to travel west from “DPR”-controlled Petrivske due to the possible presence of mines. The Mission informed the JCCC. The SMM was travelling east from government-controlled Bohdanivka (41km south-west of Donetsk), when it asked the JCCC for the permission to proceed east toward “DPR”-controlled Viktorivka (42km south-west of Donetsk). The JCCC informed the SMM of the presence of anti-tank mines on the road to Petrivske.
- The SMM still could not travel south of the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk), as Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel said there were mines on the road south of the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The SMM travelling from “DPR”-controlled Chystiakove (former Torez, 62km east of Donetsk) and “DPR”-controlled Ternove (57km east of Donetsk), came across a temporary checkpoint, where an armed “DPR” member denied the SMM further passage.
- On the same day, at a different checkpoint near Ternove, armed “DPR” members denied the SMM the passage through the checkpoint. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- While at the “DPR”-controlled Savur-Mohyla monument of the Second World War (72km east of Donetsk), two armed “DPR” members approached the SMM and requested it to leave the monument area, citing the planned visit of an unspecified “DPR” member.
- In Petrivske the SMM was allowed to go through a “DPR” checkpoint, but one armed “DPR” member, carrying an AK-type rifle stayed with the SMM until the latter left Petrivske.
 Please see the annexed table for complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations as well as map of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions marked with locations featured in this report.
 Following renewed commitment made at the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group on 29 March 2017 according to which the sides agreed on full adherence to the ceasefire and the completion of the withdrawal of weapons by 1 April, in the course of 31 March Ukrainian authorities and “LPR” members provided the SMM with some information related to weapons which they declared as withdrawn. The SMM received some information from “DPR” members on some weapons which they declared that they intended to withdraw.
 This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.