Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 18 April 2017
This report is for the media and the general public.
The SMM observed fewer ceasefire violations in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions between the evenings of 17 and 18 April compared with the previous 24 hours. The SMM followed up on reports of damage from shelling in Avdiivka. The SMM monitored the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske, but its access there and elsewhere remained restricted.* It observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line. The Mission observed unexploded ordnance in populated areas. It monitored demining in Katerynivka. The SMM continued to observe that roads and railway routes in Bakhmut and Buhas were not blocked. The SMM monitored one border area currently not under government control.
In Donetsk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations,  between the evenings of 17 and 18 April (including about 100 explosions), compared with the previous 24 hours (including about 195 explosions).
On the night of 17-18 April, while in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre, the SMM heard 11 undetermined explosions 8-12km north-north-west.
On the evening and night of 17-18 April, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, two airbursts, seven tracer rounds in flight from north to south, and two illumination flares and four projectiles in flight from south-west to north-west, all 3-6km east-south-east of the camera. Positioned in Avdiivka the following day, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 4km east.
On 18 April, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard nine undetermined explosions 3-5km west-south-west and two undetermined explosions north-north-west.
On the night of 17-18 April, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, in sequence, 45 tracer rounds in flight from east to west, 11 tracer rounds in flight from west to east, 16 tracer rounds in flight from east to west, two tracer rounds in flight from west to east, and 14 tracer rounds in flight from east to west, all at unknown distances north-north-east. The following day, while positioned near the SMM camera site on the south-west outskirts of Shyrokyne, the SMM heard one undetermined explosion as well as two bursts of heavy-machine-gun and 14 bursts and 18 shots of small-arms fire 1-2km north-north-east and east.
On 18 April, positioned about 3km north-east of government-controlled Hnutove (20km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 5-6km south-east and heard and saw two explosions assessed as impacts 3-5km east-south-east.
On 18 April, positioned on the northern edge of government-controlled Lebedynske (16km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard three undetermined explosions at unknown distances east.
On the evening of 17 April, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), over 23 minutes the SMM heard 42 undetermined explosions 8-10km south-west. The same evening the SMM also heard five explosions assessed as outgoing recoilless gun (SPG-9, 73mm) rounds, five explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-1) cannon (73mm) fire and heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 2-6km south-east, south, and south-west. The following morning at the same location, the SMM heard eight undetermined explosions 8-10km south-west and small-arms fire 3km south-east.
In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations between the evenings of 17 and 18 April (including 27 explosions) compared with the previous 24 hours (including 46 explosions). On the evening of 17 April, while in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 22 undetermined explosions about 10km west. On 18 April, positioned about 1.5km south-west of government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard four undetermined explosions about 1.5km south-east.
The SMM followed up on reports of damage from shelling in residential areas. In Avdiivka on Turhenieva Street, the SMM saw two fresh impacts in the ground on the northern side of houses at Turhenieva 76 and 59. At Turhenieva 67 the SMM saw a house, which appeared to have been recently hit directly on the western side by an explosive round. The roof had holes on it, the front door was heavily damaged and several of the windows were completely shattered. The roof of the neighbouring house also had holes in it and several windows were broken. Three additional houses at Turhenieva 63, 78, 86a had cracks in windows, which had been covered with plastic. The SMM could not assess the direction of fire or type of weapon used.
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 morning of 18 April, approximately 100m north of the bridge in the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement at the Ukrainian Armed Forces position, inside the disengagement area, the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 1-2km north-west of its position (assessed as outside of the disengagement area).
Later the same day, positioned at the “LPR” checkpoint south of Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (16km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM observed a white flare launched into the air by an unarmed “LPR” member, which the SMM also saw from government-controlled areas of the same disengagement area. A senior “LPR” member present told the SMM that the flare signalled their readiness for disengagement. From the same location, the SMM could see that at the “LPR” checkpoint south of the bridge there were 10-15 additional armed “LPR” members, a heavy machine-gun and two smaller machine-guns, a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG-7) and a large military-type truck used for transporting personnel.
While present, the SMM observed a calm situation in the Zolote and Petrivske disengagement areas.
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 observed three multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) near Izhevka (66km north of Donetsk).
In violation of the respective withdrawal lines in non-government-controlled areas, on 18 April the SMM continued to observe 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.)
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 self-propelled howitzers (2S1), including one for the first time. The SMM noted as missing, as previously observed, 43 towed anti-tank guns (2A29/MT-12 Rapira, 100mm), 22 self-propelled howitzers (2S1), and three towed anti-tank guns (D-48, 85mm).
The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles (ACVs)  and trucks in the security zone.
On 14 April an SMM mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted two IFVs (BMP-2) near Orikhove (57km north-west of Luhansk). On 17 April an SMM mid-range UAV spotted at least three armoured vehicles and two possible IFVs (BMP-variant) near Novozvanivka (70km west of Luhansk) and a a military compound occupying civilian houses and farm areas near government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) with two possible IFVs (BMP, type unknown) under camouflage netting, a small trench system and other empty revetments as well as two utility vehicles parked near a large camouflage netted structure, and one white civilian-type vehicle.
In non-government-controlled areas the SMM saw a convoy of five fuel and military-type trucks traveling east on road T0504 near “LPR”-controlled Brianka (46km south-west of Luhansk)
The SMM continued to observe the presence of unexploded ordnance in the security zone and in populated areas. On 17 April the SMM saw the tailfins of one 120mm and four 82mm mortar rounds embedded in the tarmac near an “LPR” position about 20m west of the Prince Ihor Monument south of Stanytsia Luhanska. On the north-western edge of “DPR”-controlled Komuna (56km north-east of Donetsk), about 7-8m away on the south-eastern side of the road, the SMM observed a piece of UXO, which it assessed as a probable 122mm rocket. In “DPR”-controlled Novohryhorivka (61km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM again observed what it assessed to be a 220mm rocket embedded in the ground along the side of a road. Approximately 500m north-east of Katerynivka, the SMM saw two pieces of UXO, one embedded in the tarmac on the road and one just off the road, which it assessed as two recoilless gun (SPG-9) rounds.
The SMM monitored demining on a road between the government-controlled areas of Katerynivka and Popasna. On 17 April, approximately 1.2km south-west of Katerynivka, the SMM observed a Ukrainian Armed Forces demining team demine a segment of the road leading to Popasna. A member of a Ukrainian Armed Forces demining team told the SMM that they had started demining the road between Katerynivka and Popasna from both sides simultaneously and that demining work would continue on 18 April.
The SMM monitored and facilitated, in co-ordination with the JCCC, repairs to a 1200mm water pipeline in Zolote and electrical lines leading to a water pumping station in “LPR”-controlled Krasnyi Lyman (30km north-west of Luhansk). In Krasyni Lyman the SMM saw two civilian repair workers arrive with tractors who worked in the area for about two hours and then told the SMM that the repairs were completed for the day.
The SMM continued to monitor the status of the blockade of roads and railway routes. In government-controlled Bakhmut (formerly Artemivsk, 67km north of Donetsk) the SMM saw a calm situation with five tents and about ten people wearing military-style clothing. The locomotive that had been previously present on the railroad tracks was no long there. (See SMM Daily Report 16 April 2017.) In government-controlled Buhas (44km south-west of Donetsk) there was no obstacle blocking the road traffic.
The SMM monitored a border area currently not under government control. While present for over an hour at the pedestrian border crossing point in Sievernyi (50km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM saw ten pedestrians enter Ukraine and four pedestrians exit Ukraine. The SMM observed that the crossing took several minutes per person. One 70-year-old man told the SMM that he had been visiting relatives in the Russian Federation and that crossing the border to enter back into Ukraine took less than five minutes.
On 17 April the SMM monitored the security situation at the crossing points near Kalanchak and Chaplynka (96km and 90km south-east of Kherson respectively) at the administrative boundary line between Ukraine’s mainland and the Crimean peninsula and found the situation in the area calm.
The SMM continued monitoring in Kharkiv, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Dnipro, and 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, 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 each time.
- In Katerynivka a Ukrainian officer of the JCCC told the SMM 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.
- On 18 April the SMM could not travel westward from “DPR”-controlled Petrivske through the disengagement area due to a lack of security guarantees and the possible presence of mines. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel told the SMM that the road leading from Katerynivka to Popasna was mined and they did not have authorization to let the SMM pass. 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 each time.
- On a road leading from government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk) to government-controlled Nyzhnoteple (26km north of Luhansk), the road was blocked by a wooden carrier and barbed wires at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint. A commander at the checkpoint told the SMM that he could not guarantee the SMM’s safety in the area due to the presence of mines. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- On 18 April an armed “DPR” member at a checkpoint near the eastern entrance to Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) told the SMM that they had orders to provide an escort for the SMM patrol. After 16 minutes the SMM was allowed to proceed without the escort. 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
 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.