Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 11 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 heard small-arms fire assessed as aimed at an SMM unmanned aerial vehicle flying near Staryi Aidar. It followed up on reports of civilian casualties and damage to residences from shelling and gunfire in Dokuchaievsk, Marinka and Khreshchatytske. The SMM monitored the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske, but its access there and elsewhere remained restricted.* The Mission observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line. It visited four border areas currently not controlled by the Government. The SMM continued to monitor the status of the blockade of railway routes, noting that obstacles on the railroad tracks near Hirske were no longer present. The Mission monitored the continuation of protests in Poltava, Kyiv and Kharkiv. In Kyiv it also followed up on a media report of an explosion at a cafe.
On the evening of 10 April, the SMM camera at the “DPR”-controlled Oktiabr mine (9km north-west of Donetsk city centre) recorded one projectile in flight from south-east to north-west, followed by totals of eight undetermined explosions, three projectiles in flight from west to east, and 22 tracer rounds in flight (two from east to west, 17 from west to east, and three from north-west to south-east), all 8-12km north-east. In the early morning of 11 April, the camera recorded five tracer rounds from south-east to north-west, followed by totals of three undetermined explosions and 15 projectiles in flight (nine from south-east to north-west, five from north-west to south-east, and one from north-east to south-west – as well as an explosion assessed as the projectile’s subsequent impact), all 4-6km west.
On the night of 10-11 April, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded three projectiles in flight from north-west to south-east, followed by totals of about 20 undetermined explosions, three airbursts, eight projectiles in flight (three from east to west, four from south-east to north-west, and one from south-west to north-east) and 48 tracer rounds in flight (two from east to west, 16 from south-east to north-west, five from south-west to north-east, and 25 from west to east), all 3-5km east-south-east. During the day on 11 April, positioned in Avdiivka, the SMM heard almost 90 undetermined explosions, five bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire and a half-hour of uncountable, overlapping bursts and shots of small-arms fire, all 1-5km at directions ranging from south-east to south-south-west.
On 11 April, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard over 20 undetermined explosions and seven bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 2-6km south-west.
The same day, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard two explosions (one assessed as outgoing, one undetermined) and about 50 shots of small-arms fire, all 1-4km at directions ranging from east to south.
Positioned 2km south-east of government-controlled Rozdolivka (87km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard 15-20 explosions assessed as 82mm mortar rounds 2km north, assessed as part of a live-fire exercise outside the security zone.
On the evening of 10 April, while in government-controlled Mariupol (102km south of Donetsk), the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions and 50 bursts of small-arms fire, all at undetermined distances east-north-east.
On the night of 10-11 April, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, in sequence, about 30 rocket-assisted projectiles in flight from west to east, 55 tracer rounds in flight from east to west, and an exchange of a total of about 215 tracer rounds in flight (35 from east to west and about 180 from west to east), all at undetermined distances north-north-east.
On 11 April, positioned south-east of government-controlled Lebedynske (16km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard at least 100 bursts and shots of small-arms fire 1km east-south-east.
Positioned north-east of government-controlled Hnutove (20km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard about 90 undetermined explosions and over ten minutes of uncountable, overlapping shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all at undetermined distances east and east-south-east.
In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including about 90 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours.
On 11 April, positioned about 2.5km south of government-controlled Staryi Aidar (20km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard ten shots of small-arms fire about 200m south-south-west, assessed as targeting an SMM mini-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that was flying in the same area. The SMM recalled the UAV, which landed without any damage, and then left the area. (See SMM Spot Report 11 April 2017.)
Positioned 3.5km west of government-controlled Lobacheve (17km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard almost 50 undetermined explosions 10km south-west.
Positioned in Novooleksandrivka (65km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 30 undetermined explosions and two bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 500m south.
On 10 April (previous reporting period), positioned 1.5km north of government-controlled Nyzhnie (56km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 17 undetermined explosions 15km south-east. Later, positioned 4km south-east of the town, the SMM heard 35 explosions assessed as artillery rounds and eight bursts assessed as either infantry fighting vehicle (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) fire or anti-aircraft cannon (ZU-23, 23mm) fire, all 5-7km east-north-east.
The SMM followed up on reports of civilian casualties and gunfire damage in residential areas. Accompanied by Russian officers of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), the SMM visited several sites in “DPR”-controlled Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk). In an apartment at 41 Lenina Street, the SMM saw an indentation in a wall, assessed as caused by a bullet fired from a west-south-westerly direction. A resident (man in his fifties) told the SMM that around 13:00 on 11 April a bullet had entered through an open window, ricocheted off a wall, and landed in the middle of the room.
In an apartment at 41A Lenina Street, the SMM saw small burns on a curtain and a hole in the wall, which two women living in the apartment said had been caused by a bullet.
About 80m from a radio broadcasting building at Pionerska 69A, the SMM saw a fresh crater and damage to nearby trees, assessed as caused by a round of an undetermined weapon. An electrician at the centre told the SMM that a projectile had landed around midnight on 10 April.
In government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk), accompanied by a Ukrainian officer of the JCCC, the SMM saw a hole in a ground-floor window, as well as a fresh hole on a concrete staircase, both on the east-facing side of School no. 2. The SMM assessed that the impacts were caused by bullets. A janitor told the SMM that the impacts had been discovered on 11 April (one in the morning and one around noon), and that the children had then been moved to the basement for about 20 minutes. The school director repeated the same account to the SMM via telephone.
At a hospital in government-controlled Kurakhove (40km west of Donetsk), medical staff told the SMM that a man (38 years old) had been admitted with fragmentation wounds to his chest and abdomen at 19:50 on 10 April and discharged on 11 April. A Ukrainian officer of the JCCC told the SMM that the man had sustained the injuries after the roof of his house at 250 Shevchenko Street in Marinka had been hit by an 82mm mortar round at about 19:00 on 10 April.
On 10 April, in “DPR”-controlled Khreshchatytske (formerly Krasnoarmiiske, 33km north-east of Mariupol), some people separately told the SMM that a bullet fired by a “DPR” member the evening of 8 April had ricocheted and struck a 22-year-old man, who had subsequently died at a hospital in “DPR”-controlled Novoazovsk (40km east of Mariupol). On 11 April, at the hospital, a staff member told the SMM that the man, a resident of “DPR”-controlled Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, 29km north-east of Mariupol), had been admitted to the hospital at 23:30 on 8 April with a bullet in his stomach and had immediately undergone surgery, but then had died about five hours later. The staff member added that the entry of the bullet through the man’s left thigh was consistent with a ricochet off the ground.
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 10 April, the SMM saw two “LPR” members placing at least 40 car tyres on the roof of a recently reinforced concrete bunker south of the bridge to government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska, inside the disengagement area. (See SMM Daily Report 31 March 2017.)
In the late evening, the SMM camera in Stanytsia Luhanska recorded ten bursts of small-arms fire 2.3km south-south-east, assessed as outside the disengagement area. On 11 April, positioned at the southern end of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 1.5-2km south-east, assessed as outside the disengagement area.
On 7 April, an SMM mini-UAV spotted construction of two underground bunkers and at least seven firing positions connected by a trench, not observed in imagery from 29 March; all were located along the northern embankment of a railway inside the disengagement area south of government-controlled Zolote, less than 1km south-east of a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint. Outside the south-western edge of the disengagement area, in “LPR”-controlled areas, the UAV spotted two firing positions and several revetments and bunkers with indications of recent construction.
On 9 April, the SMM camera in Zolote recorded, in sequence: one projectile in flight from north-west to south-east, almost 4km south-south-west of the camera; six tracer rounds in flight from north to south, 3.4km south; one projectile in flight from north-west to south-east, 4km south; and one projectile in flight from south to north, 3km east; all assessed as outside the disengagement area.
On 11 April, positioned in government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard three explosions assessed as rounds of undetermined weapons (two outgoing 3-5km west and one subsequent impact 3-4km south-west). Positioned in government-controlled Zolote-4 (60km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard five undetermined explosions and eight bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 4-6km south-west. Positioned 1.5km west of Zolote-4, the SMM heard two explosions assessed as rounds of IFV (BMP-1) cannon (73mm), 30 shots of automatic-grenade-launcher fire and ten bursts of small-arms fire, all 3-5km south. All the violations were assessed as outside the Zolote disengagement area.
Positioned in government-controlled Bohdanivka (41km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard one undetermined explosion and 15 shots of small-arms fire, all 2-6km at southerly directions and assessed as outside the disengagement area near “DPR”-controlled Petrivske.
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 the SMM saw, in government-controlled areas, 11 multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) near Malynivka (82km north of Donetsk).
In non-government-controlled areas, the SMM saw seven tanks (T-72), seven self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), ten towed howitzers (five D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm, and five 2A65 Msta-B, 152mm), and seven MLRS (BM-21) at an aerodrome in the south-eastern outskirts of “LPR”-controlled Luhansk city.
Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, the SMM saw in government-controlled areas at least 14 static tanks (one T-72, three T-64, and at least ten of undetermined type) near Zatyshne (64km south-west of Donetsk).
In non-government-controlled areas, eight static tanks (T-64) near Myrne (28km 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, the SMM noted 12 self-propelled howitzers (2S19 Msta-S, 152mm), present for the first time, and, missing as previously observed, six anti-tank guns (D-48, 85mm), seven self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) and 12 towed howitzers (D-20, 152mm). At sites previously observed as abandoned, the SMM noted that 16 towed howitzers (D-20), six anti-tank guns (D-48), 29 self-propelled howitzers (11 2S3; 18 2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), 12 MLRS (BM-21) and two surface-to-air missile systems (9K35) remained missing. At another site previously observed as abandoned, an SMM mini-UAV spotted two probable self-propelled howitzers (2S1).
The SMM revisited one Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage site whose location corresponded with the respective withdrawal lines and found the site to be abandoned, as previously observed, with 14 mortars (2B11 Sani, 120mm) still absent.
The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles (ACV), an anti-aircraft gun and tracks assessed as those of tanks in the security zone. In government-controlled areas the SMM saw, on 10 April, one armoured personnel carrier (BRDM-2) near Zolote, eight IFVs (BMP-2) and one APC (BRDM-2) near Novotoshkivske (53km west of Luhansk), five IFVs (four BMP-2 and one BMP1-Ksh) near Nyzhnie; and on 11 April, one IFV (BMP-1KSh) near Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) and three IFVs (two static BTR-4s and one BMP-variant with a mounted ZU-23 anti-aircraft gun moving west) near Karlivka (25km north-west of Donetsk). On 7 April, SMM midi-UAVs spotted an APC (BTR-70) near Novhorodske (35km north of Donetsk) and two IFVs (BMP-2 and BMP-variant) and an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) mounted on a truck near Pivnichne (formerly Kirove, 44km north-east of Donetsk); on 10 April, an SMM midi-UAV spotted two IFVs (BMP-variant) near Kapitanove (49km north-west of Luhansk).
On 7 April, an SMM midi-UAV spotted, in non-government-controlled areas, two APCs (MT-LB and BTR-variant) near Shyroka Balka (34km north-east of Donetsk), and one IFV (BMP-variant), five APCs (BTR-70) and three ACVs (type undetermined) near Novoselivka (31km north-east of Donetsk).
The SMM saw fresh tracks assessed as those of tanks (type undetermined) on a road near “DPR”-controlled Kozatske (36km north-east of Mariupol).
The SMM followed up on reports of a planned transfer of prisoners from non-government- to government-controlled areas. Near the entry-exit checkpoint by government-controlled Novotroitske (36km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed a vehicle with no side windows and a rooftop ventilation pipe, assessed as a prisoner transportation vehicle, in a south-bound convoy with four vehicles containing passengers in military-style clothes. A Ukrainian Armed Forces soldier at a checkpoint in government-controlled Berezove (31km south-west of Donetsk) told the SMM that a convoy with the transferred prisoners had already passed the checkpoint.
The SMM monitored and facilitated adherence to the ceasefire, co-ordinated by the JCCC, to enable repair of a water pipeline in government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk) that normally supplies water to both government- and non-government-controlled areas and demining in the area of a power line near “LPR”-controlled Kalynove-Borshchuvate (61km west of Luhansk) that normally supplies power to “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk) and surrounding villages.
The SMM visited four border areas currently not controlled by the Government. During about 20 minutes at the border crossing point near Marynivka (78km east of Donetsk), the SMM observed three trucks with covered cargo areas (with Ukrainian, Belarusian and Lithuanian licence plates, respectively) and five civilian cars (two with Ukrainian licence plates, one with Russian Federation licence plates, and two with “DPR” plates) in a queue to exit Ukraine. During 50 minutes at the border crossing point near Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM saw three trucks with covered cargo areas (all with Ukrainian licence plates) and three civilian cars (two with Ukrainian licence plates and one with Russian Federation licence plates) in a queue to exit Ukraine. During about 25 minutes at the border crossing point near Ulianivske (61km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM did not see any vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
During one hour at the border crossing point near Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM saw 40 civilian cars (25 with Ukrainian licence plates, 13 with Russian Federation licence plates, and two with “LPR” plates) in a queue to exit Ukraine. Three buses and two trucks with covered cargo areas (all with Ukrainian licence plates) exited Ukraine, while one truck with a covered cargo area (with Ukrainian licence plates) entered. The SMM also saw over 50 pedestrians exit Ukraine and seven pedestrians enter.
The SMM continued to monitor the status of the blockade of railway routes. In government-controlled Hirske (63km west of Luhansk), the SMM noted that all obstacles on the railroad tracks and other items from the activist camp were no longer present. (See SMM Daily Report 11 April 2017.) At the blockade site near government-controlled Bakhmut (67km north of Donetsk), the SMM saw about 25 activists (both male and female). A man (about 50 years old) who identified himself as a leader of the group told the SMM that an expansion of the blockade to new locations and to include truck cargo could occur after the Easter holiday.
The SMM continued to monitor a protest in Poltava (150km west of Kharkiv). (See SMM Daily Report 11 April 2017.) The SMM saw, for the first time, a red-and-black flag on a flagpole in front of the city hall building, red paint spilled on the stairs in front of the entrance of the building, and a banner reading “Headquarters of Resistance” (in Ukrainian) placed under the windows of the city hall session room. Inside the building, the SMM saw 30 people with Svoboda-party armbands (mostly young men and women) sitting in the city council session room, about half of whom (including three women) were in camouflage clothes. A city council member present, part of the Svoboda party, said that the activists were protesting against what they said to be the failure of the city administration to prevent an incident that they alleged had occurred during a protest on 5 April. Ten police officers were present. The gathering was peaceful.
On 11 April, the SMM followed up on media reports regarding an incident in Kyiv. At a cafe at 4 Volodymyrska Street, into which unknown individuals had reportedly thrown an explosive device the previous night, the SMM saw a blown-out window as well as broken windows of a building across the street.
The SMM monitored the continuation of protests in front of branches of the Sberbank of Russia. (See SMM Daily Report 11 April 2017.) At 46 Volodymyrska Street in Kyiv, about ten men in their twenties, some wearing jackets with logos and carrying flags of the National Corps, were present, along with four tent booths. The office was guarded by seven National Guard officers, and a bus with about ten more officers was parked nearby. The bank was open and the SMM saw people freely enter and exit. At 1 Zakharzhevskoho Street in Kharkiv, the SMM saw about 100 people (aged 18-25, 90 per cent men) in front of the Sberbank of Russia bank branch. About 70 police officers and National Guards were present.
On 11 April the SMM observed gatherings related to a proposed new labour code in front of the social policy parliamentary committee office at 18 Hrushevskoho Street in Kyiv. The Mission observed two groups of protestors and about 15 National Guard officers standing between them. One group of about 20 people (60 per cent women, all aged 20-40), told the SMM that they were members of the LGBTI community and their supporters and that they were against the proposed labour code but supported a paragraph on sexual minorities’ rights. A group of 100-120 people (70 per cent men, all aged 20-50), some of whom were carrying flags of the Svoboda political party, displayed banners indicating opposition to the proposed labour code. Four young men from the larger group approached the smaller group and broke the handle of an LGBTI flag, after which the National Guard officers consolidated their line between the two groups. The SMM did not observe any further incidents.
The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, 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.
- 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 presence of anti-tank obstacles and mine hazard signs on the road prevented the SMM twice from traveling between Katerynivka and Popasna. Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel present told the SMM that the road was mined. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- 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 could not travel eastward from government-controlled Bohdanivka (41km south-west of Donetsk) as Ukrainian officers of the JCCC said that anti-tank mines were still present on the road. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- Two armed “DPR” members at a checkpoint 3km west-south-west of “DPR”-controlled Manuilivka (65km east of Donetsk) stopped the SMM from proceeding toward “DPR”-controlled Ternove (57km east of Donetsk), saying that training was ongoing in that area. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- South of “LPR”-controlled Sorokyne (formerly Krasnodon, 43km south-east of Luhansk), the driver of a black Mitsubishi Lancer with a Russian Federation licence plate swerved back and forth on the road for 3-4km to prevent two SMM vehicles from overtaking, after which the driver made an offensive hand gesture. At an “LPR” checkpoint in Sorokyne, the SMM told “LPR” members about the incident. The same vehicle then passed through the checkpoint, and the “LPR” members did not attempt to stop it. They told the SMM that the driver’s behaviour was likely only avoidance of potholes on the road.
 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.