Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 14 April 2017
This report is for the media and the general public. The Mission’s next report will be issued on 18 April 2017.
The SMM observed more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region, though fewer explosions, compared with the previous reporting period. It observed fewer ceasefire violations in Luhansk region compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission followed up on reports of a civilian casualty in Pikuzy and damage to houses from gunfire in Sentianivka. The SMM monitored the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske, but its access there and elsewhere remained restricted.* The Mission observed ceasefire violations assessed as inside the disengagement area near Zolote. It observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line, in Luhansk city and Kalinina. The SMM followed up on reports that an explosion had damaged railway tracks near Orikhove. The Mission visited two border areas currently not controlled by the Government. It monitored the continuation of protests outside some branches of a bank in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Odessa. The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Balakliia (Kharkiv region) following last month’s fire at an ammunition depot.
On the evening of 13 April, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded 18 explosions assessed as impacts of rounds of undetermined weapons and five airbursts, followed by a total of 12 projectiles in flight (11 from south to north, one from west to east), 16 undetermined explosions, and three illumination flares in flight from west to east, all 3-5km east and east-south-east. On 14 April, positioned in Avdiivka, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 3-6km west and north-west, and 56 undetermined explosions 3-7km at directions ranging from east to south-east.
The same day, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 170 undetermined explosions, at least 50 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun fire and over four hours of intense small-arms fire, all 1-6km at directions ranging from south-west to north. The SMM also heard four undetermined explosions 8-10km west. The SMM camera at the “DPR”-controlled Oktiabr mine (9km north-west of Donetsk city centre) recorded two explosions assessed as impacts of rounds of undetermined weapons 3-5km north-east.
On the evening of 13 April, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard one explosion assessed as an outgoing round of an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-1) cannon (73mm), nine explosions assessed as outgoing rocket-propelled grenades, one explosion assessed as the impact of an automatic-grenade-launcher round, two undetermined explosions, and heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, mostly 1-3km south-east. During the day on 14 April, in the same location, the SMM heard 37 undetermined explosions (of which 24 were 5-10km south and 13 were 10km west), as well as heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 1-3km south-east.
The same day, positioned 1.6km south-east of government-controlled Kurakhove (40km west of Donetsk), the SMM heard 60 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds 7-10km south-east.
On the night of 13-14 April, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded 44 airbursts followed by totals of two undetermined explosions, five rocket-assisted projectiles in flight (two from west to east, one from south-west to north-east, and two from east to west – along with an explosion assessed as the subsequent impact of one of the two), 117 tracer rounds in flight (19 from east to west, 45 from east-south-east to west-north-west, four from south to north, five from south-west to north-east, 25 from west to east, and 19 from west-north-west to east-south-east), eight bursts of tracer rounds in flight from south-east to north-west, and one illumination flare in flight from east to west, all at undetermined distances north and north-north-east.
On 14 April, positioned 700m east of government-controlled Sopyne (16km east of Mariupol), the SMM heard 32 undetermined explosions 3-5km north-north-east.
In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including about 120 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (at least 150 explosions). Positioned in Novooleksandrivka (65km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard six explosions assessed as outgoing IFV (BMP-1) cannon fire 3km north-west.
Positioned 3km west of “LPR-controlled Kripenskyi (58km south of Luhansk), the SMM heard five explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) and six explosions assessed as 152mm artillery rounds, all 9km north-west and assessed as part of a live-fire exercise outside the security zone.
Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Alchevsk (40km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM heard nine undetermined explosions and three bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 5km south, assessed as part of a live-fire exercise inside the security zone, in violation of the decision of the Trilateral Contact Group on 3 March 2016 that prohibited conduct of live-fire training (exercises) in the security zone.
The SMM followed up on reports of civilian casualties and damage to houses from gunfire. At a hospital in “DPR”-controlled Novoazovsk (40km east of Mariupol), the SMM saw a man in his fifties in a wheelchair with bandages on his right side (calf, hip and shoulder), some of which had traces of blood. He told the SMM he was outside his home in “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol) at 15:00 on 13 April when he was struck by bullet fragments.
On 13 April, in “LPR”-controlled Sentianivka (formerly Frunze, 44km west of Luhansk), the SMM saw a fresh impact with a diameter of 30mm in the north-facing wall of a house at 91 First of May Street, and indications of recent repair to north-facing parts of the roof. The SMM assessed that the house was struck by a round of an IFV (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) fired from a northerly direction. A resident (woman, aged about 65) told the SMM that both the wall and the roof were hit on the night of 10-11 April, but that the roof had already been repaired. At 117 First of May Street, the SMM saw two fresh impacts (one hole and one section of broken glass and shrapnel damage) on the north-facing walls of an uninhabited house, assessed as caused by rounds of a 30mm-calibre weapon fired from a northerly direction. About 8m north of the north-facing side of a house at 119 First of May Street, the SMM saw a fresh impact on the ground, assessed as caused by a 30mm-calibre round fired from a northerly direction.
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.*
Positioned near an “LPR” checkpoint south of the bridge to government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska, the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 5km north-north-west, assessed as outside the disengagement area.
Positioned in government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard two shots of small-arms fire 600-700m south-east, assessed as inside the disengagement area south of government-controlled Zolote. The SMM also heard about 85 undetermined explosions, 15 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire and six shots of small-arms fire, all 1.5-5km at directions ranging from south to south-west and assessed as outside the disengagement area. Positioned 3km north of “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard nine undetermined explosions and seven bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 3km south-west, assessed as outside the disengagement area.
The SMM noted a calm situation while positioned 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 in non-government-controlled areas, the SMM again observed seven MLRS (BM-21), 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 Luhansk city. (See SMM Spot Report 5 April 2017.)
In government-controlled areas the SMM saw one self-propelled howitzer (2S1) on a flatbed heading north in Kalinina (68km north of Donetsk).
Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in non-government-controlled areas the SMM saw at least 27 tanks (type undetermined) near 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 government-controlled areas, the SMM noted as present six MLRS (9A53 Uragan-1M, 220mm), ten self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) and, for the first time, 12 anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm). The SMM noted as missing, as previously observed, 21 self-propelled howitzers (2S3), nine towed howitzers (three D-44, 85mm; and six D-20, 152mm), 30 mortars (2B11 Sani, 120mm) and four surface-to-air missile systems (9K35 Strela-10, 120mm). At sites previously observed as abandoned, the SMM noted as still missing 27 self-propelled howitzers (eight 2S3 and 19 2S1), 24 towed howitzers (2A65), six anti-tank guns (MT-12) and one surface-to-air missile system (9K35). One site was observed as abandoned for the first time, with three anti-tank guns (MT-12) missing.
In non-government-controlled areas, the SMM noted as present 13 towed howitzers (D-30), three of which were observed for the first time. The SMM observed that six towed howitzers (D-30) were missing, as previously observed. At one site previously observed as abandoned, the SMM noted that 15 mortars (PM-38, 120mm) were again absent.
The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles in the security zone. In government-controlled areas the SMM saw one IFV (BMP-1) near Novoluhanske (59km north east of Donetsk). On 11 April, an SMM mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted an APC (BRDM-variant) near Toretsk (formerly Dzerzhynsk, 43km north of Donetsk), and on 14 April an SMM mid-range UAV spotted two IFVs (BMP-variant) near Orikhove (60km west of Luhansk).
In non-government-controlled areas the SMM saw, on 13 April, one IFV (BMP-2) near Pionerske (19km east of Luhansk), one IFV (BMP-2) towed by a truck heading north-west near Luhansk city; and on 14 April, one IFV (BMP-2) in Donetsk city, seven IFVs (BMP-2) and 17 armoured personnel carriers (ten MT-LB and seven BTR-80) south-east of Luhansk city. On 11 April, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted two IFVs (BMP-variant) near Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk).
The SMM followed up on media reports that an explosion had damaged railway tracks on the evening of 12 April near Orikhove. An SMM mid-range UAV spotted a possible crater on the southern side of a railway embankment and debris on the tracks.
The SMM observed the presence of mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the security zone. On 13 April, an SMM mini-UAV spotted 30-40 anti-tank mines (TM-62) arranged in rows south-west of Katerynivka. On 14 April, at sites in “DPR”-controlled areas near Komuna (56km north-east of Donetsk) and Novohryhorivka (61km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed projectile tails assessed to be those of MLRS (9P140 Uragan, 220mm) rockets – one at each site – lodged in the ground. The first site was at least 300m from the nearest house, while the second was within ten metres of the nearest house. The SMM had previously observed both pieces of UXO on 20 February 2017. (See SMM Daily Report 21 February 2017.)
The SMM monitored adherence to the ceasefire, co-ordinated by the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), to enable repair of a water pipeline near Zolote and power lines connected to a water pumping station near “LPR”-controlled Raivka (16km north-west of Luhansk) that serves Raivka and four other villages in non-government-controlled areas.
The SMM monitored two border areas currently not under Government control. During 40 minutes at a border crossing point near Marynivka (78km east of Donetsk), the SMM observed 30 civilian cars (25 with Ukrainian and five with Russian Federation licence plates) in a queue to exit Ukraine. During 45 minutes at a border crossing point near Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed two civilian cars (licence plates not observed) and 13 trucks with covered cargo areas (ten with Ukrainian licence places, two with Russian Federation licence plates and one with Kazakhstani licence plates) in queues to exit Ukraine, and three civilian cars (licence plates not observed) and five trucks with covered cargo areas (licence plates not observed) entering Ukraine.
The SMM monitored the continuation of protests outside some branches of Sberbank of Russia. (See SMM Daily Report 13 April 2017.) In Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Odessa the SMM again observed gatherings of 5-15 people outside branches of the bank, all of which – except for the one in Kharkiv – remained open. The gatherings were calm.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Balakliia (74km south-east of Kharkiv) following the fire at an ammunition depot on 23 March. (See SMM Daily Report 6 April 2017.) The SMM observed five State Emergency Services personnel near the depot marking fields for demining, and 15 workers repairing the roofs of damaged private buildings nearby. Owners of five partly damaged private houses told the Mission that electricity and gas supplies were functioning. The SMM noted that a damaged kindergarten remained closed.
The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, 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 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 presence of anti-tank obstacles, road blocks and mine hazard signs on the road prevented the SMM from travelling between Katerynivka and government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk). 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.
- An “LPR” member denied the SMM access to a compound north of “LPR”-controlled Khrustalnyi (formerly Krasnyi Luch, 56km south-west of Luhansk). The SMM informed the JCCC.
* 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.