Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 13 April 2017
This report is for the media and the general public.
The SMM observed more ceasefire violations both in Donetsk and Luhansk region compared with the previous reporting period. 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, in Luhansk city and Anadol. SMM lost communication with a mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge area. The SMM facilitated and monitored removal of unexploded ordnance near the Donetsk Water Filtration Station to enable repair works. It visited two border areas currently not controlled by the Government. The Mission monitored the continuation of a protest outside a bank branch in Kyiv and Kharkiv.
In Donetsk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including at least 600 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 100 explosions), as well as more than 200 projectiles and at least 350 tracer rounds recorded in total by the SMM cameras at Oktiabr mine, and in Avdiivka and Shyrokyne.
In the evening of 12 April, while in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre, the SMM heard 47 undetermined explosions, mostly 5-8km north-west. On the evening of 12 April, the SMM camera at the “DPR”-controlled Oktiabr mine (9km north-west of Donetsk city centre) recorded an exchange of fire that began with two projectiles in flight from north-west to south-east, followed by another from south-east to north-west. The camera also recorded a total of 36 projectiles in flight (28 from north-west to south-east and eight south-east to north-west), 16 tracer rounds (12 north-east to south-west and four north-west to south-east), as well as 15 undetermined explosions, all 6-10km north-east.
On the night of 12-13 April, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded an exchange of fire that began with two undetermined explosions, followed by two projectiles from south to north. This was followed by totals of 37 undetermined explosions, about 190 projectiles in flight (about 120 from southerly to northerly direction, 26 from northerly to southerly directions, 24 from easterly to westerly directions, and 18 from westerly to easterly directions) and 77 tracer rounds (40 from southerly to northerly directions, 31 from northerly to southerly direction, two from westerly to easterly directions, and four from easterly to westerly directions).
During the day on 13 April, the same camera recorded four explosions assessed as the impacts of rounds from unidentified weapon systems 4-5km east-south-east. Positioned in Avdiivka on the same day, the SMM heard 26 undetermined explosions 3-5km south-east and south. Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about five hours during the day of 13 April, the SMM heard 55 undetermined explosions and more than 140 bursts and shots of small-arms fire, all 1-6km at directions ranging from south to north.
While in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk) on the evening of 12 April, the SMM heard 13 undetermined explosions 7-9km west and north. The following day, the SMM heard five undetermined explosions 10km at locations ranging from south-west to north. While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) on the evening of 12 April, the SMM heard 33 undetermined explosions at locations ranging from 7 to 11km north-east and north-north-east, eight explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of undetermined weapons 8-10km north-north-east and one explosion assessed as an impact 6-7km north-north-east.
On the night of 12-13 April, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded two undetermined explosions followed by three tracer rounds from east to west and then by another tracer round from west to east. This was followed by totals of 11 undetermined explosions, two explosions assessed as impacts of rounds from unidentified weapon systems, about 260 tracer rounds (about 180 from west to east, 40 from south-west to north-east, 31 from east to west, 11 from south to north), all at undetermined distances north. During the morning on 13 April, the camera recorded seven airbursts and 13 explosions assessed as the impacts of rounds from unidentified weapons at 3-5km east-south-east.
On 13 April, positioned at the south-eastern edge of “DPR”-controlled Boikivske (formerly Telmanove, 67km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard almost 90 explosions assessed as outgoing rounds from undetermined weapons 2-3km south-east, assessed as coming from a training area.
On the same day, from its position 2.4km south-east of government-controlled Kalynivka (11km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard 33 explosions, including 30 assessed as artillery rounds, 2-4km east-north-east. Positioned at the north-eastern outskirts of government-controlled Mariupol (102km south of Donetsk), the SMM heard four undetermined explosions 4-5km east. From its position 2.2km south-west of government-controlled Pyshchevyk (25km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM heard 57 undetermined explosions 3-4km south-east, south-south-east and east.
Positioned at two different locations north-north-west and south-east of government-controlled Lebedynske (16km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard 87 undetermined explosions (24 were 2-5km east-south-east, 61 at locations ranging from 4 to 9km east-north-east and north-east, one at undetermined distance north-west), as well as heard one undetermined explosion and saw smoke rising 2-3km east-north-east. Positioned 1km north-east of government-controlled Hnutove (20km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard 29 undetermined explosions at unknown distances south-east and south.
In Luhansk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including at least 150 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 130 explosions). On 13 April, positioned 1.5km south-east of “LPR”-controlled Molodizhne (63km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard about 140 undetermined explosions 5km north-north-west and more than 800 shots of small-arms fire 2km west-south-west.
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.*
The SMM camera in government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska recorded, on the evening of 12 April, one outgoing flare, assessed as inside the disengagement area. Positioned in Stanytsia Luhanska the following day, the SMM heard one shot of small-arms fire assessed as outside the disengagement area.
The SMM camera in government-controlled Zolote recorded on the night of 11-12 April four projectiles and five tracer rounds in flight from north to south, 3-5km east. The SMM could not assess whether they were inside the disengagement area. The camera also recorded 17 explosions assessed as impacts of mortar or artillery rounds, 3.5-4km east (assessed as outside the disengagement area).
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 again observed seven multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm), seven self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), ten towed howitzers (five D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm and five 2A65 Msta-B, 152mm), and seven tanks (T-72), at an aerodrome in the south-eastern outskirts of “LPR”-controlled Luhansk city. (See SMM Spot Report 5 April 2017.)
In violation of the respective withdrawal lines in government-controlled areas, the SMM again observed three stationary self-propelled howitzers (2S1) in a compound in Anadol (39km north of Mariupol) (see SMM Daily Report 28 March 2017).
Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in government-controlled areas the SMM saw one tank (T-72) loaded on a flatbed truck heading north 3km south of Trudove (45km west of Donetsk).
In non-government-controlled areas, the SMM saw three stationary tanks (unidentified type) near Svobodne (73km south of Donetsk) and five tanks (T-64) at a training area near Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk). Aerial imagery revealed the presence on 12 April of two tanks (type undetermined) in 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, the SMM noted as present 12 MLRS (BM-21) and three mortars (2B9 Vasilek, 82mm).
The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and a UAV in the security zone. In non-government-controlled areas the SMM saw one infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) near Vesela Hora (16km north of Luhansk) and 17 stationary armoured personal carriers (APC) (seven BTR-80 and ten BRDM), about 30 military-type trucks and 250-300 men in military-style clothing marching at the aerodrome in the south-eastern part of Luhansk city.
At 11:22 on 13 April, the SMM started flying a mid-range UAV from “LPR-controlled Mykolaivka (15km east of Luhansk) over the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area. At 11:40 the “low speed” indicator on the control station started to flash. Immediately after, an alarm indicator also started to flash indicating “falling down in spiral mode” and at that moment the SMM lost contact with the UAV over Stanytsia Luhanska bridge area, about 3km from the SMM’s position. The SMM patrol proceeded towards the area to locate the UAV; due to the possible presence of mines the SMM could not search the entire area.
In government-controlled areas the SMM saw five stationary IFVs (BMP-2) near Novozvanivka (70km west of Luhansk).
From its position 1.5km south of government-controlled Kamianka (20km north of Donetsk), the SMM saw an UAV similar to a black delta wing circling a checkpoint in Kamianka at an altitude of about 300m and then flying west. Later the SMM saw a UAV fly again at an altitude of 600m in a north-eastern direction and then fly again west. The SMM heard and saw one airburst 1km east.
The SMM continued facilitating and observing the removal of unexploded ordnance (UXO) as well as the presence of UXO in the security zone. At the junction between road M04 and H20, about 1km south of the Donetsk Water Filtration Station, the SMM observed armed “DPR” members remove two unfired rocket-propelled grenades (RPG-7, warheads only), two heavy-machine-gun cartridges (12.7mm) and one fired grenade (VOG-25) from the tarmac and place them on the eastern edge of the highway and mark them with a red mine hazard sign (a small red flag on an iron stick). The SMM saw four more RPG-7 warheads (without propulsion) lying on the grass strip between the lanes, 15m from a Ukrainian Armed Forces position, but the “DPR” members did not remove those, claiming they were “on the government-controlled side”.
In “LPR”-controlled areas south of Stanytsia Luhanska, the SMM saw, for the first time, the tail fin of a 120mm mortar round protruding from the pavement at the eastern edge of the road 100m south-west of the Prince Ihor Monument, outside the disengagement area. The SMM did not see any crater or spray traces on the asphalt.
The SMM monitored the situation of civilians living close to the contact line. At a pedestrian path located near Parusovka Street (south-eastern outskirts of government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), near a cemetery, two Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers told the SMM that 64 residents of Novooleksandrivka (65km west of Luhansk) who were on a list prepared by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, had been crossing in both directions without hindrance since 8 April. The SMM saw people cross. In “DPR”-controlled Zhovanka (47km north-east of Donetsk) a woman told the SMM that there had been no electricity in the village for ten months due to continuous sniper fire. The meeting took place in a room where there was no electricity. She added that new electricity pylons had been provided but the repair works had not been implemented yet. She also said that drinking water was not available because the water pipes were broken. A Russian officer of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) said that the JCCC was aware of the problem.
The SMM monitored two border areas currently not under Government control. At a pedestrian border crossing point near Krasnodarskyi (58km south-east of Luhansk), in half an hour, the SMM saw two men in their forties exit Ukraine and five civilian cars (all with Ukrainian licence plates) at the adjacent parking lot. During half an hour at another pedestrian border crossing point near Krasnodarskyi, the SMM observed no people crossing in either direction. The SMM noted no “LPR” members present at either border crossing points.
The SMM monitored the continuation of a protest in front of a branch of Sberbank of Russia at 46 Volodymyrska Street in Kyiv (see SMM Daily 13 Report 2017). The SMM saw nine young men with flags of National Corps who were outside four booth tents. Six National Guard officers were standing in front of the office. The SMM noted that the window and door shutters of the branch were lowered, except the one of the main entrance, which was open. The SMM noted a calm situation.
On 13 and on 14 April in the morning, in Kharkiv city centre, the SMM continued to monitor protests at the main office of the Sberbank subsidiary at 1 Donetz Zakharzhevskoho Street. The SMM saw 15 people (aged between 18 and 25, mainly men), sitting on wood benches in front of the bank. Five police officers were present at the front entrance to the bank. The SMM noticed that the bank was still closed. The gatherings were calm.
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, 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.
- In government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk), a Ukrainian officer of the JCCC told that no demining had taken place and therefore the SMM was unable to travel south-east into the Zolote disengagement area along the railroad track. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The SMM could not proceed further west from government-controlled Bohdanivka (41km south-west of Donetsk) towards the Petrivske disengagement area due to the lack of security guarantees and the possible presence of mines and other explosive hazards. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The presence of anti-tank obstacles, road blocks and mine hazard signs on the road prevented the SMM twice from traveling between Katerynivka and government-controlled 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.
- Ukrainian Armed Forces officers denied the SMM access to a heavy weapons holding area, saying that only their commander could grant access. The commander arrived 30 minutes later and denied the SMM access; however, he ordered that weapons be brought outside the area for the SMM to see. The SMM informed the JCCC.
 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.* 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”.
 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.