Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 10 April 2017
This report is for the media and the general public.
The SMM observed more ceasefire violations in Donetsk but fewer in Luhansk region compared with the previous 24 hours. The Mission followed up on reports of civilian casualties and damage from gunfire, and shelling in residential areas in Dokuchaievsk, Donetsk city, Khreshchatytske and Donetskyi. The Mission monitored the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske, but its access there and elsewhere remained restricted.* It observed fresh impact sites caused by shelling inside the disengagement area near Stanytsia Luhanska. It again observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line. The SMM visited six border areas currently not controlled by the Government near Marynivka, Uspenka, Ulianivske, Voznesenivka, Makariv Yar and Kruzhylivka. The SMM noted that protesters were no longer present at the blockade of a railway track in Hirske. The SMM noticed the cancellation of a planned event at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Kyiv. The Mission observed protests outside branches of Sberbank of Russia in Kyiv and Kharkiv. It monitored several events marking the anniversary of the liberation of Odessa in 1944.
In Donetsk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 180 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours (about 120 explosions). The majority of explosions were recorded in the Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport area and the Svitlodarsk-Debaltseve area.
During the evening of 9 April, while in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre, the SMM heard four undetermined explosions 6-8km north-north-west. During the night of 9-10 April, the SMM camera at the “DPR”-controlled Oktiabr mine (9km north-west of Donetsk city centre) recorded, in sequence: one projectile in flight west to east and one consequent explosion, assessed as an impact; two undetermined explosions; one projectile in flight from north to south and one subsequent explosion, assessed as an impact; one undetermined explosion; two projectiles in flight from north to south; one undetermined explosion; one projectile in flight from north to south; 23 projectiles from west to west; one airburst; one projectile from west to east; ten projectiles from north to south; 12 projectiles from west to east, all 3-4km north-north-east of the camera. During the day of 10 April, positioned in Donetsk city centre, the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions 2-4km west, five undetermined explosions 3-6km north-west and north, 16 shots of small- arms fire 1-3km north-east and north-west and three shots 2-4km west.
On the night of 9-10 April the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence: 17 projectiles in flight from west to east; one undetermined explosion; two projectiles in flight from east to west; one airburst; four projectiles in flight from west to east; four projectiles from east to west, all 3-5km east-south-east. On 10 April, the camera recorded four undetermined explosions 3-4km east-south-east. Positioned in Avdiivka, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 3-5km east.
During the day of 10 April positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about five hours, the SMM heard 14 undetermined explosions 2-5km west, four undetermined explosions north-north-west, 13 shots of small-arms fire 2-5km west and three shots of small-arms fire 2-3km north-north-west.
Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard one undetermined explosion and ten bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 2-3km north.
On the evening and night of 9-10 April the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded an exchange of fire that began with 52 tracer rounds in flight from west to east, three tracer rounds from east to west, ten west to east and one airburst. This was followed by aggregated totals of five undetermined explosions, 292 tracer rounds (107 from west to east, 180 east to west, five south to north), two rocket-assisted projectiles in flight from west to east and two east to west, and one illumination flare east to west, all at undetermined distances north-north-east and north of the camera.
On the evening of 9 April positioned in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard four explosions, assessed as outgoing rocket-propelled grenades (RPG), seven explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of recoilless gun (SPG-9, 73mm) , about 30 undetermined explosions, about 45 shots of small-arms fire, seven bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire , all at 2-6km south-east. It also heard eight undetermined explosions 6-10km south-east. On 10 April the SMM heard ten explosions (two assessed as outgoing rounds of recoilless gun (SPG-9 73mm) and three undetermined), seven bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, three shots of automatic-grenade-launcher fire and three subsequent explosions, assessed as impact, all 1-4km south-east. The SMM also heard four undetermined explosions 6-8km south-east, 37 undetermined explosions and uncountable overlapping bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 3-5km north-east.
On 10 April, positioned 2.2km south-west of government-controlled Pyshchevyk (25km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard one undetermined explosion and two bursts of small-arms fire at an undetermined distance south-east and east.
Positioned in government-controlled Hnutove (20km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM heard four undetermined explosions and two bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire at an undetermined distance south-south-east. Positioned 1.6km south-east of government-controlled Lomakyne (15km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM heard one explosion at an undetermined distance east.
Positioned 1.6km south-west of “DPR”-controlled Mytkovo-Kachkari (32km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM heard three undetermined explosions at an undetermined distance west.
Positioned about 2km south-east of government-controlled Lebedynske (16km east-north-east of Mariupol) the SMM heard eight undetermined explosions and uncountable bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire and at an undetermined distance north-north-east.
Positioned in government-controlled Mariupol (102km south of Donetsk), the SMM heard 27 explosions at an undetermined distance east.
In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including 74 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours (about 80 explosions).
On 10 April, positioned 4km north of “LPR”-controlled Luhansk, the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 10km south-west of its position.
Positioned at an “LPR” checkpoint 3km south-east of the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk), the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 15km west.
Positioned 1.5km east of government-controlled Novotoshkivske (53km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard four undetermined explosions 10-15km east of its position.
Positioned 3km south-east of government-controlled Kapitanove (49km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard eight undetermined explosions assessed of artillery rounds 7-8km south.
Positioned 1.5km south-west “LPR”-controlled Molodizhne (63km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard one explosion assessed as impact of mortar round (82mm) 1km north of its position.
The SMM followed up on reports of civilian casualties and gunfire damage in residential areas. On 10 April, in “DPR”-controlled Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM saw fresh damage to the south-south-west façade of a two-storey kindergarten at 2 Vatutina Street. The SMM saw a broken window with a hole in it, assessed as caused by a bullet, two metres above the floor of a playroom. Inside the kindergarten, the SMM saw an impact point on the wooden door frame on the internal-partition wall opposite the broken window, with soot marks 15cm in diameter around the point, which was 1.7m above the playroom floor. In the same playroom the SMM also saw a 12.7mm hole in an emergency exit wooden door on the internal-partition wall on the east-south-east wall of the playground, some 20-25cm above the playroom floor. The SMM saw no bullet. The SMM assessed the damage as caused by 12.7mm heavy-machine-gun fire from a south-westerly direction, which had penetrated the window and had ricocheted in the emergency exit wooden door on the east-south-east wall but had not broken through it. The kindergarten director (a woman in her forties) told the SMM that the bullet had hit the playroom window between 13:07 and 13:10 on 10 April, while 30 children (5-7 years old) had just finished lunch and entered the playroom. At that time there were 157 children present. At about 14:30, the SMM saw parents picking up children from the kindergarten and representatives of media outlets at the scene.
The SMM followed up on a report by a Russian officer of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) of a civilian casualty in the settlement of Trudovskyi in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city’s Petrovskyi district (15km south-west of Donetsk city centre). The SMM met with two women (33 and 36 years old) in Hospital no. 14 in Petrovskyi district. The SMM saw one of them walking with wooden crutches; the other one showed bandages above her left knee. The two women told the SMM that at approximately 15:30 on 7 April, while they were returning from a cemetery in Trudovskyi near Maksimilianovka Street, they were injured in shelling, and described how several small devices started falling and exploding around them.
On 9 April the SMM followed up on a report by the JCCC about damages to a house in “LPR”-controlled Donetskyi (49km west of Luhansk). The SMM met a 65-year-old resident at 9 Shakhtarskoi Dyvizii Street. The SMM saw a hole in the north-west-facing wall of the man’s one-storey house. The Mission saw one window facing north-west damaged by shrapnel; and impact sites on the wall and ceiling in the living room. The SMM also visited four houses located at 5A, 5B, 7A, and 7B Shakhtarskoi Dyvizii Street and noticed that those were also damaged. The SMM assessed all these impacts as caused by anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) cannon fire from a north-westerly direction. In the neighbouring Shakhtariv Street, the SMM saw two fences damaged, assessed as having being caused by BMP-2 cannon fire from a north-westerly direction. The resident of 9 Shakhtarskoi Dyvizii Street told the SMM that he was outside of his house at 15:10 on 8 April when he had been wounded on his right forehead; he added that he was treated by medical emergency services in his house immediately after the incident.
Positioned 2.5km north-east of government controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) and 1.3km north-west of the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint, the SMM observed a fresh crater in a field near the main road, assessed as caused by a 120mm mortar round. Positioned 200m south of the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint, the SMM observed a fresh crater assessed as caused by a 152mm artillery round. The SMM was not able to assess the direction of the fire in either case. The nearest residential part of Popasna was about 2km south-east of the site.
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 the evening of 8 April the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded three projectiles in flight from west to east, 2-4km south-south-west. The SMM could not assess whether the projectiles were inside or outside the disengagement area.
On 10 April, positioned inside the Zolote disengagement area near “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 1-2km south-west of its position, assessed as outside the disengagement area.
Positioned south of in Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, inside the disengagement area (16km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM heard three undetermined explosions 2km north-west of its position (assessed as outside the disengagement area).
Positioned in government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 2km south-west, 55 undetermined explosions and 50 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 8-10km north-east (all assessed as outside the Zolote disengagement area).
The SMM observed two fresh craters near the southernmost Ukrainian Armed Forces position on the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge. The SMM assessed one crater to the west side of the walkway (3-4m south-south-west of the position) as caused by an automatic-grenade-launcher round fired from south-westerly direction. The Mission also assessed a second crater east of the walkway (1-2m south of the position) as also caused by an automatic-grenade-launcher round, fired from an undetermined direction.
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 non-government-controlled areas the SMM observed: seven tanks (T-72), seven self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), ten towed howitzers (five D-30, 122mm and five 2A65s Msta-B, 152mm), and seven multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21s Grad, 122mm) at an aerodrome in the south-eastern outskirts of Luhansk city.
Beyond withdrawal lines, but outside storage sites, in government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM saw: three stationary tanks (T-64) 3-4km south of Dmytrivka (43km north of Luhansk) on the side of the road H-21 facing north.
In non-government-controlled areas the SMM saw: on 9 April, one self-propelled howitzer (2S1, 122mm) in Stepanivka (76km east of Donetsk); four self-propelled howitzers (2S1, 122mm) in Ulianivske (61km south-east of Donetsk); and on 10 April at least six tanks and six barrels assessed as those of tanks (T-72, 125mm) inside a compound near Chystiakove (formerly Torez, 62km east of Donetsk); and six tanks (T-72) 6km south-east of Ternove (57km east of Donetsk).
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 such sites in government-controlled areas, the SMM saw eight self-propelled howitzers (2S5 Giatsint-S, 152 mm). The SMM observed that one holding area continued to be abandoned with 16 self-propelled howitzers (14 2S, 122mm and two 2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) missing.
The SMM revisited one Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage site whose location corresponded with the respective withdrawal lines, and saw 12 tanks (T-64) missing for the first time.
The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles (ACVs) in the security zone. On 10 April, in government-controlled areas, the SMM saw: three infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) (BMP-1s) moving north near Lopaskyne (23km north-west of Luhansk); and two IFVs (BMP-1) stationary 1.5km north-east of government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska bridge.
The SMM observed for the first time six anti-tank mines laid near Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint east of Popasna – in a zone where placement of new landmine-explosive engineering barriers is prohibited according to Point 6 of the Memorandum of 19 September 2014.
The SMM monitored and facilitated adherence to the ceasefire, co-ordinated by the JCCC to enable repair of a water pipeline in “LPR”-controlled Zolote-5 (61km west of Luhansk) and demining followed by repair works on electric pylons near “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), which are part of the high voltage lines between Almazna and Kalynove.
The SMM visited six border areas currently not controlled by the Government. On 9 April, during half an hour at the border crossing point near Marynivka (78km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed nine civilian cars (six with Ukrainian, two with Russian Federation, one with Lithuanian licence plates) enter Ukraine and 15 cars (five with Ukrainian, seven with Russian Federation licence plates, and three with “DPR” plates) queuing to leave Ukraine.
During half an hour at the border crossing point near Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed 28 civilian cars (14 with Ukrainian, one with Georgian and nine with Russian Federation licence plates, and one with “Abkhaz” plates) and 50 trucks (35 with Ukrainian, one with Belarusian, and two with Lithuanian licence plates, and two with “DPR” plates) queuing to leave Ukraine.
At the Ulianivske border crossing point (61km south-east of Donetsk), in half an hour the SMM saw no vehicles or people leaving or entering Ukraine.
Upon arrival at the border crossing point Voznesenivka (formerly Chervonopartyzansk, 65km south-east of Luhansk), in about one hour, the SMM observed the following vehicles exit Ukraine: 26 cars with Ukrainian licence plates; twelve cars with Russian Federation licence plates; one bus with Russian Federation licence plates (marked ‘Gukovo-Sverdlovsk’, carrying about 35 people); one truck with Ukrainian licence plates (more than 3.5 tons, closed white trailer); and one car with “LPR” plates entered Ukraine. It also observed eight pedestrians (six women, one man and one boy) exit Ukraine and ten pedestrians (five woman and five men) enter Ukraine. At the nearby train station in “LPR”-controlled Chervona Mohila (65km south-east of Luhansk) the SMM observed a train arriving at the station with approximately 60 rectangular wagons. There were other wagons stationed on the other lines with a total of 80 wagons.
The SMM also monitored for about one hour and a half border areas of “LPR”-controlled Makariv Yar (formerly Parkhomenko) and Kruzhylivka (28, and 34km east of Luhansk, respectively), where it noted a calm situation.
The SMM observed the blockade of a railway track in government-controlled Hirske (63km west of Luhansk), that had been under way since 25 January. The SMM noted that the protesters were not present and the tent and other belongings were loaded on a truck. The rail tracks were still blocked with wooden fence and sacks. The SMM could not see any police presence near the bridge. A police officer told the SMM that the blockade had been removed. He said that police had intervened to remove the blockade because protesters had allegedly prevented repair works to the tracks and the railway company had requested police assistance. A police officer in Hirske told the SMM that no force had been used and nobody had been arrested, but criminal charges had been brought against the organizers of the blockade.
The SMM monitored gatherings in several regions in western Ukraine. In Kyiv on 8 April the SMM observed two paper notices with the logo and name of the “National Corps” stating that a planned event at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in the Podil district would not take place and that the Centre was closed. A patrol police car with three police officers was parked in front of the Centre, and another police officer armed with an assault rifle stood in front of the gate. Four men set up speakers on a car and broadcast the Ukrainian national anthem repeatedly. The situation remained peaceful during the SMM’s stay for about an hour.
On 10 April the SMM observed about 70 protestors (all young, 90 per cent male) with blue-and-yellow flags, some of which read “National Corps”, gathered in front of the Sberbank of Russia at 46 Volodymyrska Street in Kyiv. Two small tents had been erected in front of the main entrance of the bank. Five buses with members of the National Guards were parked nearby, and about 100 National Guards had cordoned off the bank's entrance. Several times the SMM saw people freely enter or exit the bank. An employee told the SMM the bank was operating normally. The situation remained peaceful during the SMM’s stay for about five hours.
On 10 April, in Kharkiv, the SMM saw about 50 young men gathered in front of the office of Sberbank of Russia at Zakharzhevskoho Street 1 and painted slogans and stickers on the walls and windows of the building. The SMM also saw concrete blocks used to obstruct the bank's side entrance. A tent at the site bore the “National Corps” logo. Five police officers were present. A bank employee told the SMM by phone that all employees had left the office. The SMM saw about 75 law enforcement officers arriving in full riot gear disperse 25-30 of the young men and then cordon off the building and street. The SMM saw small clashes, including an incident in which a protestor sprayed a police officer with a chemical irritant assessed as tear gas. The SMM saw one injured person, who left the scene on an ambulance.
On 7 April, the SMM saw about 150 people (mostly young men) by the city hall in Poltava (150km west of Kharkiv) protesting against a construction project. Thirty police officers secured the scene.
On 10 April, in Odessa, the SMM monitored several events coinciding with the anniversary of the city’s liberation in 1944. In Shevchenko Park about 500 people were gathered and the site was secured by about 250 police and about 100 National Guards. After an official ceremony, about 100 people (men and women, 35-65 years old), escorted by about 50 police officers, marched to the monument shouting anti-Maidan slogans. The SMM saw another group comprising of participants carrying Right Sector symbols and recognised some of them. The SMM saw the police intervene several times, detaining some of the participants of the latter group. A police official told the SMM that a total of 16 activists had been detained. On the same day, in front of the Prymorskyi district police station at 42 Hretska Street, about 60 activists from the same two groups were gathered, and the station was guarded by ten police officers in riot gear, with two buses of similarly dressed police nearby. Both police and activists told the SMM that some of the detained activists had been released. At a monument in the Arcadia area of the city, the SMM monitored another gathering (of about 600 people and 300 police officers), which ended peacefully. A smaller gathering in Victory Park also ended peacefully.
The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, 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.
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 SMM could not travel south of the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia, as Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel said there were mines on the road south of the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- While travelling south-west from government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk) to government-controlled Popasna, road barriers and mine signs prevented the SMM from proceeding. An armed Ukrainian Armed Forces officer told the SMM that the road ahead was mined. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- In Petrivske the SMM saw no evidence of any demining activity in the disengagement area including the road west from Petrivske. Due to the lack of security guarantees and potential mine threats the SMM had no possibility to move west from Petrivske. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- While travelling north-east from Popasna to Katerynivka, the SMM was prevented from proceeding by a roadblock. An armed Ukrainian Armed Forces officer told the SMM that the road ahead was mined. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- En route from government-controlled Lobacheve (17km north-west of Luhansk) to government-controlled Lopaskyne (23km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM was prevented from proceeding by a wooden barrier across the road and a sign marked “Dangerous” in English. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The SMM approached a “DPR” compound to register tanks it previously observed; an unarmed “DPR” member denied access.
- In government-controlled Hirske five men in camouflage uniforms with police badges, armed with assault rifles (AK-47) and side arms prevented the SMM from passing through the Karbonit junction. They explained that they had an order not to allow anyone to pass through the junction towards the bridge.
- In “DPR”-controlled Naberezhne (33 km north-east of Mariupol) four armed “DPR” members denied further access to the village, addressing the SMM with aggressive language.
- 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 patrol left Petrivske.
- At a Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage site, one Ukrainian Armed Forces officer asked for the nationality of patrol members, stating that the battalion commander would deny access to citizens of the Russian Federation. After 43 minutes and the intervention of the JCCC, the SMM could visit the site.
 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.